hoot gallery - stevefitz
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The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch 1490-1510
The Garden of Earthly Delights is the modern title given to a triptych oil painting on oak panels by the Early Netherlandish master. As little is known of Bosch's life or intentions, interpretations ranged from an admonition of worldly indulgence, to a dire warning on the perils of life's temptations. The intricacy of its symbolism has led to a wide range of scholarly interpretations with art historians divided as to whether the triptych is a moral warning or a panorama of paradise lost.
The left panel suggests innocence and creation in the Garden of Eden. The centre panel has been described as depicting human indulgence and folly. The right panel leads us into darkness and war with a scholar, war animal and religious connotation apparent in the bottom right corner, along with the mediaeval equivalent of a news paper over the knee, or the media of the day, all vying for our attention. Some things don't change.
The Aino Myth by Akseli Gallen-Kallela 1891
With his own wife Mary as the model. It depicts the story on three panels: The left one is about the first encounter of Väinämöinen and Aino in the forest. The right one depicts mournful Aino weeping on the shore and listening to the call of the maids of Vellamo who are playing in the water. The central panel depicts fishing Väinämöinen having thrown away a small fish, now turning out to be Aino, who laughs at him and vanishes forever. The moral of the story being that we should look after the most beautiful and precious things we have because once they are gone, they are gone.
The Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli 1486
Depicts the goddess Venus (Goddess of Love) emerging from the sea after her birth when fully-grown. At the left the wind god Zephyr blows her gently to the shore. At the right a female figure Horae, a Greek minor goddesses of Spring, is waiting to attends to Venus. Plato argued that contemplation of physical beauty, in the form of a nude Venus, allowed the mind to better understand spiritual beauty and lifted the mind to the realm of divine love. The reeds represent the human will and the falling laurel flowers evoke the name of Florence.
The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel 1863
Shown to great success at the Paris Salon of 1863, Cabanel's version of The Birth of Venus was all about seduction and was immediately purchased by Napoleon III for his own personal collection. Erotic imagery, cloaked in historicism, appealed to the propriety of the higher levels of society and that in itself is saying something about justifying indulgence. With the cherubs heralding her arrival and their wings painted in as an afterthought, this virgin Venus hovers somewhere between an ancient deity and a modern day dream.