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Botticelli – Venus and Mars



Sandro Botticelli: Venus and Mars: about 1480-90

We’re back across the Alps to Florence for this painting, Botticelli’s Venus and Mars. Venus, the god of Love, reclines on a red cushion watching her lover Mars, the god of War, as he sleeps on a pink blanket.

And it’s a deep, deep sleep. Not even one of the satyrs, the mischievous half child, half goat creatures, blowing a conch in his ear can wake him.

I think we can guess what’s just been taking place, and if you want any more hints, look at the satyrs carrying off Mars’s lance – pick the Freud out of that. But Botticelli is also making a broader point about love conquering all – make love, not war if you like. Mars is literally disarmed after the act of love, his armour, helmet and weapons carried away while he sleeps. Continue reading