Botticelli's Birth of Venus
|In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite.|
The Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory and even prostitution. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn castrated his father Uranus and threw his genitals into the sea.
Her beauty became a source of tension among the gods, all of whom wanted to take her as wife. To calm matters, Zeus decided that Aphrodite would marry Hephaestus, the crippled smith god.
|Hephaestus fashioned for her a magic girdle to ensure her fidelity. However, she proved unfaithful and had multiple affairs with both mortals and gods. Some of her offspring were the Cupids (Erotes) who were a collection of winged love deities who represented the different aspects of love.|
Images of Venus have been found in countless forms from sculptures to mosaics to shrines and even domestic murals and fresco. Venus, due to her beauty and sexual nature, was often depicted nude. Venus continued to be a popular subject matter for artists through antiquity and the renaissance even into the 20th century.