How To Read Paintings: Venus and Mars by Sandro Botticelli

Venus and Mars (c 1485) by Sandro Botticelli. Tempera and oil on poplar panel, 69 cm x 173 cm. National Gallery, London. Source Wikimedia Commons

What does the painting show? A woman and a man lying in a grassy glade, surrounded by trees and shrubbery. She is sat up with her elbow cushioned by a red pillow; he has fallen asleep with his head outstretched in deep slumber. Behind them, a group of baby satyrs —…

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