Venus was born in the foam of the sea and the Zephyrs carried her along the top of the waves to the Island of Cyprus where the Seasons were waiting to receive and attire her.
Venus, goddess of flowers, of the fruitfulness of nature, goddess of love: she of the Botticelli painting was in fact, or is in legend, the lovely Simonetta, the betrothed of Giuliano de Medici. It is told that, proud of her great beauty, she said to the painter: “I will be your lady Venus; you shall paint me rising from the waves.” And it is further told that, realizing as she posed that she was but a model in the painter’s eyes, she wept out of injured pride and sent him from the room.
Scraps of legend and invented hokum have preserved the reputation of many paintings that deserve to be forgotten. Botticelli “Venus” needs no such embellishment. It is “its own excuse for being.”