Cabanel Birth of Venus

You’ve seen Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It’s all over prints, posters, and even was parodied on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Don’t get me wrong. I love that piece too. But I really love Alexandre Cabanel’s Birth of Venus. The latter is an example of what I loved about 19th Century art.

Cabanel Birth of Venus

Alexandre Cabanel’s Birth of Venus

Painted in 1863, this painting is currently in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. When we hit Paris, I need to see this one in real life. Napoleon III bought it upon completion. I’m not going to get into the historical politics of the 19th century leaders, but I got to give them at least some credit – they had better taste than today’s leaders. (By far, but that’s not saying much).

You may love impressionism. I’m fine with that. I respect it as an art form. I’m just not a fan with it.

Cabanel hated it. He was at war with impressionism like I’m at war against ugly and stupid music. (You could make a guess which genres I’m referring to and you’ll probably be right).

Anyways, yes, Cabanel hated the impressionists and since he was a Professor at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he did everything he could to keep them out. Which of course backfired miserably. But that’s another story for another day.

I appreciated Cabanel’s work immensely, especially this one. A long-haired red-headed Goddess who comes to life atop of waves. Nude with a body perfection. Of course she’s a Goddess. I’d love to have a model for my paintings who looked like his model here.

I’m all about beauty. I’ve seen sunrises over the California coast, sunsets in Hawaii and the Caribbean, too many waterfalls to count. I love nature. I’m in awe of nature. But I still have to say that NOTHING compares to a beautiful nude woman. To even think a beautiful nude woman is obscene is an obscenity in itself. There is nothing obscene about beauty. Nothing. People who want to censor beauty are sick and twisted bastards and in my eyes, deserve to spend their last days floating on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Cabanel captured beauty. He captured it in such an intense way that his painting is magical. If you want to see real life magic, this is it, just like hearing real life magic is hearing a good rendition of something like Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.

Other Birth of Venus paintings

I already mentioned Botticelli. Both Duval in 1862 and Bouguereau in 1879 produced Birth of Venus paintings with gorgeous long-haired red-heads and both paintings were spectacular, except I’d give the nod to Bouguereau. I love Duval’s piece too, don’t get me wrong, but Bouguereau’s piece is even better.

One of these days, I’ll do a write-up on all four pieces. Venus is the Goddess of Love and Beauty, two of the most important parts of Romanticism. And as you know, I’m a Romantic.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie, and he can still throw a football

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