Idealizing the Nude Venus: An Exploration of the Classical Tradition in the Italian Renaissance Art
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The figure of nude Venus that was a popular theme in the ancient Greco-Roman art also had its continuous presence in the European art during the Renaissance. While the iconography of the Venus portrayals produced during the Renaissance was loaded with aspects of the Classical tradition, they were also characteristic for timely and contextual innovations. This paper explores the use of the nude Venus figure from antiquity to the 16th century Italian Renaissance art with special reference to Titian’s Venus and the Musician series and Lavinia Fontana’s Isabella Ruini as Venus. In existing scholarship adequate emphasis has not been laid on the Classical tradition in the chosen case studies, and the paintings need to be interpreted in relation to Neoplatonism and the Renaissance concepts of beauty, music, and conjugal love where applicable. The study reveals that while the nude Venus was idealized in antiquity as an icon of beauty, sensuality, and a matronly persona in both everyday life as well as in the funerary context, her role expanded beyond that during the Renaissance. She was perceived, in addition to her traditional spheres of activity, as an embodiment of harmony between the beauty of the female body, nature and music both with and without restraint.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/29891
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