Posts Tagged ‘Venus’

►Art / Mythology: “The Loggia of Psyche” at The Villa Farnesina

(Frescoes Based on the Myth Of Eros and Psyche):

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“The Loggia of Psyche” (Villa Farnesina, Rome. 16th Century).

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The Villa Farnesina is placed in the Trastevere area of Rome on the Via della Lungara along the river Tiber.

It was designed by Baldassare Perluzzi between 1508 and 1512 for the banker, Agostino Chigi who was in love with his mistress Francesca Ordeaschi to whom he finally married in 1519.

After Chigi, the villa was purchased by the Farnese family and connected by a bridge across the Tiber to the huge Palazzo Farnese on the opposite bank.

The walls related to the Loggia of Phsyche were frescoed by several noted artists, most importantly Raphael, but it’s the ceiling that illustrates Psyche and Eros’ story.  

Scholars suggest that the story cycle alludes to Chigi’s own life, and his recent marriage.

Although the preparatory drawings and the general conception of the stories are by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (also known as Raphael (1483/1520), the bulk of the painting was carried out by his pupils, notably Giovanni da Udine (who painted the rich plant festoons of the frame) with the collaboration of Giulio Romano, Raffaellino del Colle and Gianfrancesco Penni. 

Two frescoes on the ceiling depict incidents in the story of Eros and Psyche which took place in heaven.

Eros (Roman equivalent: Cupid) fell in love with Psyche and he abducted her.

Then, they had sexual relationships in total darkness because Eros had forbidden her to look at him.

As Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus) was jealous of Psyche’s Beauty, she imprisoned his son, Eros, in her palace and forbade her to see him. At the end, Aphrodite accepted a deal, telling Psyche that she had to accomplish four tasks in order to see her beloved again.

After Psyche had undergone many difficult trials, Zeus made her immortal, and allowed her to marry Eros.

The Eros and Psyche myth corpus might be considered an  allegory for the ascent of the soul to immortality through love (especially love of beauty), based on Plato’s dialogue “Symposium” through Diotima’s “Ladder of Love”. 

By going through it, one will ascend from loving particular kinds of beauty to loving Beauty itself, from which all beautiful things derive their nature.

According to this analogy, Beauty is related to Love. Besides, Beauty itself is a Form or Idea, which  always exists, not coming into being or ceasing to be, nor increasing nor diminishing. Thus, Beauty will not appear in certain bodies in particular: it will appear in itself and by itself, independent of everything else. 

 

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►”Loggia di Psyche” (Sequential Gallery):

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Venus and Cupid

“Venus and Cupid” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

•In this fresco, Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus) shows her son Eros (Roman equivalent Cupid) who is the young woman who was defying her own Beauty. According to the original version of the myth, Aphrodite, The Goddess of Beauty, asked Eros to poison men’ souls in order to kill off their desire for Psyche.

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"Cupid and the Three Graces" by Giulio Romano (1517-18).

“Cupid and the Three Graces” by Raphael’s collaborator Giulio Romano (1517-18).

•Here we can The Three Graces on the clouds listening as young Eros relates the story of Psyche and his mother Aphrodite’s initial opposition – jealous of Psyche’s beauty – to mortal Psyche as his lover and eventual wife, as Apuleius originally tells in “The Golden Ass”.

The Three Graces were also known in Greek Mythology as Charites and they were goddesses related to charm, beauty, and creativity.

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Venus (Aphrodite), Ceres (Demeter) and Juno (Hera) by Raphael with Giovanni da Udine's collaboration.

Venus (Aphrodite), Ceres (Demeter) and Juno (Hera) by Raphael with Giovanni da Udine’s collaboration. (1517-18).

•This detail from the vault of the Loggia shows Venus (Greek equivalent: Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty), Ceres,(Greek equivalent: Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest) and Juno (Greek equivalent: Hera, Zeus’ wife and sister and Goddess of Marriage and Childbirth ).

In this spandrel the group of three goddesses is divided.

Venus has learned of the secret affair and, driven by wrath, is seeking support from her female friends. But they both show little sympathy for her wrath and laments.

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Venus on the Chariot Pulled by Doves

“Venus on the Chariot Pulled by Doves” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

•In this spandrel we can see Goddess Aphrodite (Roman equivalent: Venus), on a chariot and pulled by Doves. The chariot might be related with the allegory of ascendant Beauty, whilst the doves were specific attributes of the Goddess.

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Psyche Brings a Vessel up to Venus/Aphrodite by Giulio Romano (1517-18).

“Psyche Brings a Vessel up to Venus/Aphrodite” by Giulio Romano (1517-18).

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“Venus and Psyche” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

“Venus and Psyche” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

•This two frescoes are linked to the fourth task ordered to Psyche by Aphrodite.

As the narrative relates of her ordeals commanded by Aphrodite, Psyche is taken to Aphrodite carrying the vessel she thinks holds Persephone’s beauty but actually holds deadly “Sleep of the Innermost Darkness, the night of Styx”.

Psyche opens the box desiring to be beautiful for Eros and restored to him. In doing so, disobeying Aphrodite, she swoons toward death, needing to be revived by Eros.

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Cupid and Jupiter (on the left). Psyche and Jupiter (on the right).

Cupid and Jupiter (on the left). Psyche and Jupiter (on the right). By Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

•In these frescoes we can see Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian gods (Roman equivalent: Jupiter) with Eros (Roman equivalent: Cupid) on the left and Psyche on the right.

The Father of Gods advises them. His attitude seems to be more wrathful towards Eros, as he is holding his chin while he is staring at him. By contrast, he looks at Psyche with an indulgent and affable gesture.

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Mercury

“Mercury” (Hermes) by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

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"Mercury Brings Psyche up to Olympus" by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

“Mercury Brings Psyche up to Olympus” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

•In these two frescoes we can see Hermes (Roman equivalent: Mercury) who was the messenger of the gods and guide of dead souls to the Underworld. Hermes was also well known for performing duties for Father of Gods.

As a matter of fact, Zeus appreciated Hermes’ wits highly and always asked for Hermes’ assistance throughout his decisions. 

In Apuleius’ Eros and Psyche story, Hermes even carries Psyche to heaven and the marriage banquet, just as seen in the first frescoe below.

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Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche

“Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

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“The Council of Gods” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

“The Council of Gods” by Raphael and collaborators (1517-18).

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“Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche” and “The Council of the Gods” (Detail). By Rapahel and collaborators (1517-18).

“Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche” and “The Council of the Gods” (Detail). By Rapahel and collaborators (1517-18).

•The conclusion of the Psyche and Eros story takes place in two broad format paintings in the vault panel.

Raphael depicts the council of the gods in which Zeus (Roman equivalent: Jupiter) decides to accept Psyche and Hermes (Roman equivalent: Mercury) gives her the elixir of immortality.

Then the wedding is celebrated. The groupings of figures spread out in a lively way. The communal life of the gods is unfolded in a characterization of their all human, too human feelings.-

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►Paul Hindemith, “Amor und Psyche”, Villa Farnesina, Raphael:

[Note: The first fresco appearing in the video is not part of the ceiling frescoes composing “The Loggia of Psyche”. Its name is “The Triumph of Galatea” and it was completed about 1514 by Raphael for the Villa Farnesina].

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►Links Post:
http://www.wga.hu/html_m/r/raphael/5roma/4a/
http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~mjoseph/CP/ICP.html
http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/farnesina/farnesina.html
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Loggia_of_Psyche_(Villa_Farnesina,_Rome)
http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~mjoseph/CP/loggia.html
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/symposium/section11.rhtml
http://www.electrummagazine.com/2012/06/the-villa-farnesina-jewel-of-renaissance-rome/

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►Greek Mythology: “Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty”:

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"Venus Verticordia" ("Venus the Changer of Hearts") by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868).-

“Venus Verticordia” (“Venus the Changer of Hearts”) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1868).-

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Aphrodite (In ancient greek Ἀφροδίτη”arisen from the foam”. Roman equivalent: Venus) was the goddess of Love, Beauty and Eternal Youth, arousing desire to gods and humans. In addition, she was connected to the death/rebirth of nature and was also considered a protectress of sailors.

Aphrodite’s symbols were the girdle. the seashell and the mirror. Her sacred animal was the dove.

According to Hesiod’s “Theogony”, she was created from the foam of the waters of the sea, in the fragrant island of Cyprus, when the Titan Cronos  slew his father, the major Titan Ouranos, and threw then his genitals into the sea.

Hesiod’s reference to Aphrodite’s having been born from the sea inspired the Renaissance artist Botticelli’s famous painting of the goddess on a giant scallop shell. 

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"The Birt of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli (1486).-

“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1486).-

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Homer, on the other hand, said that she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

When the Trojan prince Paris was asked to judge which of three Olympian goddesses was the most beautiful, he chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athena and gave her the Golden Apple which was labeled “To the Fairest”.

The latter two had hoped to bribe him with power and victory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.

This was Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy when Paris subsequently eloped with her. In the ensuing Trojan War, Hera and Athena were implacable enemies of Troy while Aphrodite was loyal to Paris and the Trojans.

In Homer’s “Iliad”, Aphrodite saves Paris when he is about to be killed in single combat by Menelaus. The goddess wraps him in a mist and spirits him away, setting him down in his own bedroom in Troy. She then appears to Helen in the guise of an elderly handmaiden and tells her that Paris is waiting for her.

Helen recognizes the goddess in disguise and asks if she is being led once more to ruin. For Aphrodite had bewitched her into leaving her husband Menelaus to run off with Paris. She dares to suggest that Aphrodite go to Paris herself.

Suddenly furious, the goddess warns Helen not to go too far, lest she be abandoned to the hatred of Greeks and Trojans alike.

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"Venus convinces Helen to go with Paris" by Angelica Kauffman (1790).-

“Venus induces Helen to fall in love with Paris” (detail)  by Angelica Kauffman (1790).-

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“The Judgment of Paris” by Luca Giordano (1681-1683).-

“The Judgment of Paris” by Luca Giordano (1681-1683).-

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”Golden Apple of Discord” by Jacob Jordaens (1633).-

”Golden Apple of Discord” by Jacob Jordaens (1633).-

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Another case in which Aphrodite came to the aid of a mortal hero also happened to involve golden apples. When the heroine Atalanta agreed to wed who beat her in a foot race, Aphrodite favored Hippomenes with a peck of golden fruit.

By strewing these apples on the race course, Hippomenes caused Atalanta to become distracted, reason why she lost the race.

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“Atlanta and Hippomenes” by Willem van Herp (1632).-

“Atlanta and Hippomenes” by Willem van Herp (1632).-

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In a different ocassion, Zeus punished Aphrodite for beguiling her fellow gods into inappropriate romances.

He caused her to become infatuated with the mortal Anchises. That’s how she came to be the mother of Aeneas. She protected this hero during the Trojan War and its aftermath, when Aeneas quested to Italy and became the mythological founder of a line of Roman emperors.

A minor Italic goddess named Venus became identified with Aphrodite, and that’s how she got her Roman name. It is as Venus that she appears in the “Aeneiad”, Virgil’s epic of the founding of Rome.

In the “Iliad”, Homer tells how Aphrodite intervened in battle to save her son Aeneas, who was obviously,  a Trojan ally. 

The Greek hero Diomedes, who had been on the verge of killing Aeneas, attacked the goddess herself, wounding her on the wrist. Aphrodite promptly dropped Aeneas, who was rescued by Apollo, another Olympian sponsor of the Trojan.

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"Venus with Iapis Tending the Wounded Aeneas" by Francesco Solimena (1695).-

“Venus with Iapis Tending the Wounded Aeneas” by Francesco Solimena (1695).-

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"Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas" by Nicolas Poussin (1639_.-

“Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas” by Nicolas Poussin (1639_.-

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"Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage" by  Angelica Kauffmann (1768).-

“Venus Directing Aeneas and Achates to Carthage” by Angelica Kauffmann. (1768).-

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►”The Aphrodite of Cnidos” by Praxiteles and Other Sculptures of Aphrodite based on it:

 Engraving of a coin from Knidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles.


Coin from Cnidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles.

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“The Aphrodite of Cnidos” or “Cnidian Aphrodite” was one of the most famous works of the ancient greek sculptor Praxiteles (4th century BC, Classic Period). 

The statue  became famous for its beauty, meant to be appreciated from every angle, and for being the first life-size representation of the nude female form.  

Praxiteles probably used the courtesan Phryne as a model.

The Cnidian Aphrodite has not survived. Possibly the statue was removed to Constantinople and was lost in a fire.

The original statue supposedly depicted Aphrodite as she prepared for the ritual bath that restored her purity (not virginity), discarding her drapery in her left hand, while modestly shielding herself with her right hand.

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►Slideshare: Most Well Known Variations on “The Aphrodite of Cnidos”:

(Note: Click on any sculpture for further technical details on it)

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►Links Post:
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/aphrodite.html
https://ladysighs.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/greek-9-aphrodite/
http://gogreece.about.com/cs/mythology/a/mythaphrodite.htm
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/grecoromanmyth1/p/Aphrodite.htm
http://www.greek-gods.info/greek-gods/aphrodite/aphrodite-paintings.php
https://micromythos.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/the-weirdest-births-of-mythology/
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodite_of_Cnidus
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