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  • Hello, we're looking at Sandro Botticelli's 'Venus and Mars', which is one of

  • my favourite paintings in the collection, because it's so full of irreverent and naughty fun.

  • Here we have on the left hand-side Venus, who is lying, looking very awake and alert.

  • She is wearing a fantastic, beautiful gown with gold trim.

  • And she is looking over this side at Mars, who is fast asleep, he is completely worn out;

  • and if we didn't get that, this little boy is blowing a shell in his ear, and that's

  • not waking him up, and on top of that there are wasps buzzing around his head,

  • and that's not waking him up either.

  • They are lovers, and Botticelli has chosen this scene to show them

  • when they are after the act of love,

  • and he is absolutely worn out.

  • They are having an affair.

  • Venus is married to Mars's brother Vulcan, the God of the Underworld,

  • and this particular moment, although not from any particular text, shows them being lovers.

  • Behind them are these wonderful little boys with hairy legs: satyrs.

  • They are playing with Mars's armour, so he is literally un-manned.

  • He is literally turned from this violent God of War into this prone, useless figure.

  • And I particularly love this little boy here climbing through Mars's breastplate

  • with this wonderful naughty look on his face.

  • Isn't it fantastic?

  • Botticelli is clearly talking about the sexual element of love,

  • and the sexual element of relationships.

  • He is not I think saying that women are better than men, what he is trying

  • to talk about is the nature of the relationship between men and women.

  • He is also relating it to a wider cosmic idea of our place in the world.

  • If we look into the sky, we look at the stars, Venus is always triumphant over Mars.

  • And one of the things Botticelli is trying to say is if we understand our place in the world,

  • we understand how to be happy people, and how to be better off.

Hello, we're looking at Sandro Botticelli's 'Venus and Mars', which is one of

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B1 UK venus botticelli naughty worn waking sexual

Venus and Mars Painted Lovers | National Gallery

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    Rongxi Ma posted on 2017/10/23
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