WahooArt.com - Sandro Botticelli
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Venus and Mars, Tempera by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510, Italy)
Venus and Mars is a c. 1483 painting by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. It shows the Roman gods Venus and Mars in an allegory of Beauty and Valour. Venus watches Mars sleep while two infant satyrs play carrying his armour as another rests under his arm. A fourth blows a small conch shell in his ear in an effort to wake him.
The scene is set in a forest, and the background shows, in the distance, the sea from which Venus emerged. A swarm of wasps hover around Mars' head, possibly as a symbol that love is often accompanied by pain. Another possible explanation is that the wasps represent the Vespucci family that may have commissioned the painting; the symbol of the Vespucci house is the wasp. The painting is thought originally to have been the back of a lettuccio, a wooden sofa.[