Friday, 20 April 2018

Spring, with boobs

A month late, Spring has finally arrived here with a brazen heatwave and an embarrassed rush of flowers.

And you know what Spring means to artists? Yes, pretty goddesses with their boobies out! Botticelli's Primavera is the most famous of these depictions, partly because it is layered with slightly obscure allegory:

c. 1470

But Flora the Roman goddess of flowers and springtide pops up (and out) in art throughout the ages. In this one her flesh is literally made out of flowers:

Arcimboldo: Flora Meretrix (c1590)
Her story is the usual Greek offhand misogyny: she starts off as the nymph Chloris ("green") but is transformed into Flora the goddess of spring after being abducted/raped/married by the West Wind.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau: Flora and Zephyrus (1875)
John William Waterhouse: Flora and the Zephyr (1898)
However, she certainly seems to have made the best of the situation:

Triumph Of Flora, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1743)

She's long been a popular subject for the classically inclined patron...

Portrait of a Courtesan as Flora by Bartolomeo Veneto, c. 1520
Romaine Brooks: Spring (1912)
George Wilson: The Spring Witch (1880)
Clearly, for artistic types, Spring is definitely when the sap starts rising!

No comments: