Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus, c1485⁠

Venus is the Roman goddess of love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory (modeled after Aphrodite in Greek mythology). She is the feminine ideal and the embodiment of divine love. This particular Venus has been heralded as the most beautiful face in all of art history. You would think that Venus’s origin story would be romantic and beautiful, but that’s not exactly the case. Aphrodite’s name comes from the Greek ‘aphros’ meaning ‘foam.’ When the god Chronos cut off the genitals of his father Uranus, he pitched them into the sea and Aphrodite was then born of gizzy sea foam. Here she is brought forth out of the sea on a clam shell, pushed by the wind gods Aura and Zephyr. Her attendant goddess Hora of Spring greets her with a robe to cover her nakedness.⁠

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