Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Arrival of Spring

Botticelli's Primavera, though overwhelmingly beautiful and intricate in detail, hides a rich, complex plot that borders on disturbing. first glance at this towering painting lands your eye at the center of the picture where we see Venus, the roman goddess of love, standing delicately in a flourishing garden of flowers. her head is quirky in position, but the peaceful look on her face suggests no immediate sense of danger. your eyes then fixate upwards to cupid flying above her, aiming his bow and arrow at the three graces. they are barely clothed in transparent sheathes dancing in a small circle. the almost sultry looks on their faces suggest a sexual nature to this piece. Mercury is standing next to them. he is disinterested, turned away, distracted by the blossoming fruit of the trees. this leads us to assume forbidden fruit, maybe homosexuality as the film implies. the right side of the painting is dramatic to say the least. we see Zephyr, the god of the west winds, violently blow in and abduct his sister Chloris, a wood nymph. it is said that he raped (and actually married) her but felt ashamed after and transformed her into Flora, the goddess of flowers and spring. they also had a son (not pictured) Carpus, meaning fruit. (maybe the piece Mercury was reaching for on the opposite side?) Flora rounds out the picture, she is seen tossing roses. the dresses of both blow in opposite directions of each other denoting that these two female figures are the same, Flora being the rebirth or Chloris. learning that this monumental sized painting was commissioned as a wedding present, somewhat helps explain this dark representation of a new beginning, or the arrival of spring.

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