30 May 2010

Did Botticelli depict Venus and Mars high on drugs?

David Bellingham, a director at Sotheby's, showed this painting to horticulturalists at Kew, who identified the plant in the lower right corner as Datura stramonium; one side effect of its ingestion is the urge to remove one's clothes.
"The fruit is being offered to the viewer, so it is meant to be significant. Botticelli does use plants symbolically."
Personally, I'm not convinced, but it does make the painting more interesting.  The standard interpretation of the painting is here, including this:
The wasps may be a reference to the clients who commissioned the painting. They are part of the coat of arms of the Vespucci family, whose name derives from vespa, Italian for wasp.
Image credit, and a higher rez picture (where it's still hard to see the plant in question).

For more on Vespa/wasp, see the next post...

1 comment:

  1. Not seeing the Datura. However, I think that Datura is associated with lilliputian hallucinations. Maybe hat is where the little satyrs are coming from.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...