This Knee is a Royal Pain: The Birth of Venus

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Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, 1485
This Knee is a Royal Pain: Disney Princesses & Art

By SARAH XU

Greetings, loved ones. Let’s take a journey.

Disney princesses: idolized by youngsters, teenagers’ love life aspirations, adults’ worst nightmares. A never-ending nap? A girl taken hostage by a beast? A girl with hair long enough and strong enough to climb? A mermaid that becomes human? A maid who marries a prince? Where did Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm brothers, and the other writers get these creative ideas? Let’s take a look at some possible inspirations.

What do mermaids call their friends on?
Shell phones.

The Birth of Venus is called the "first large-scale canvas created in Renaissance Florence,” measuring six feet by nine feet. Unlike other artists, Botticelli used expensive alabaster powder, which "mermade" the colors brighter and more radiant than usual. Nude paintings were not common in the Middle Ages, but this painting was an exception due to the godly subject. Also, how convenient is the length of her hair?

On her left, the blue ocean represents the divinity Venus came from while the lush, green nature on her right represents the human world. These two contrasting sides shows her transition from divinity to the mortal world. On the seashell, Venus leans more towards the right side, embracing her change to the mortal world. Furthermore, on her left is the God of Wind and on her right is the Goddess of Seasons. The path of the flowers towards the right of the painting shows Zephyrs using his powers of the wind to push Venus towards Earth.

Is this a painting of the birth of Venus, or the moment when Ariel becomes a human? It seems like the woman has red hair and she’s basically emerging from the ocean. Also, she looks a little wobbly on her feet. Who wouldn't be after magically developing legs? One side of the painting could symbolize Ariel's life under the sea and the other side could symbolize Ariel's transition to the land of the walking. Off she goes to find Prince Eric!

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