In honor of The Queen of the Sea print release, I wanted to share with you a mini history of Aphrodite and Venus, whose legends were some of the inspiration behind my painting.
A mythical goddess of love and born of the ocean, Aphrodite
of Greece and later called Venus by the Romans.
Depictions of the birth of Aphrodite are among the oldest European mythological paintings of which we have records. Apelles of Kos, one of the most renowned of the great painters of ancient Greece, probably painted Aphrodite Anadyomene (above), in which the goddess Aphrodite rises from the sea.
The Birth of Venus by Botticelli (above) is probably the most famous depiction of Venus. Standing in an over-sized clamshell, Aphrodite has been born as a fully-grown adult, her long tresses blowing in the breeze.
I actually was able to see this painting in person, as it is in the Uffizi museum in Florence, Italy. While I studied painting there at the Florence Academy of Art, I was able to see it in person, and it is quite beautiful! Pictures don’t do it justice.
Blowing Aphrodite to the shore are Zephyros, the west wind, harbinger of Spring, and Aura the personification of lighter breeze. At the right, welcoming Aphrodite to land with clothing is one of the Horai representing the season Spring, and there are Spring flowers blowing across the painting. They are probably on the shore of the island of Cyprus, with a wood inland.
There have been countless interpretations of Venus and Aphrodite since then, and it still serves and an inspiration today!
Alexandre Cabanel’s painting The Birth of Venus brought him great success, at the Salon of 1863. An unashamedly romantic-academic interpretation, this painting stole the Salon of 1863, and was bought by Napoleon III for his personal collection.
It is worth mentioning too that Venus is one of our planets within our solar system, and can be seen as a bright star on clear nights! In fact, last winter I did a guided moon walk (where you walk in a park by the light of the moon) and was able to see Venus sparkling high above us!
My own preparatory sketch and then painting, The Queen of the Sea, was inspired by a dream. I awoke one morning with the very clear image of a woman with reddish-blonde curls rising from the waves, covered in the shimmering costume of blue waves and foam, with a spirit of royalty. I painted directly from my imagination after only doing a preparatory sketch in colored pencil first. I was a bit nervous having no reference photos or model for the piece, but decided to go with it and was happy I did, as I think painting directly really captured the emotion of the moment.
Above is the preparatory sketch, still available. Once finished, the large painting measured 30″ x 40″ as an original oil on canvas, and quickly sold. I do, however, have limited edition prints of this piece!
The print is an edition of 100, and is hand signed and numbered by me individually. The print is on 11″ x 15″ paper and is acid free, archival and velvety pure color texture.
To order a print for yourself or for a gift, click the image below!
I hope this gave you a bit of inspiration, and historical background to the changing names of the original Queen of the Sea!
In other news, I’m developing the holiday line for my art, so stay tuned! I will let you know when everything is ready!
Have a beautiful week, and sending you love, light, and creativity!