Venus Pudica

   In English, modest Venus. The term describes a classical sculpture type where Venus is surprised at her bath and covers her nudity with her arms. Examples of this kind were known in the Renaissance, including a Roman copy in the Medici collection, now in the Uffizi, Florence. Masaccio borrowed the model to depict his Eve in the Expulsion from Paradise in the Brancacci Chapel (c. 1425) at Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, who feels ashamed of her nudity. Sandro Botticelli used it in his Birth of Venus (c. 1485; Florence, Uffizi) appropriately as it depicts the moment when the goddess, having emerged from the waters, arrives in Cythera, her sacred island, where one of the Hours (or perhaps Flora or Pomona) awaits to cover her nudity with a flowered mantle. In his Venus and Anchises on the Farnese ceiling (c. 1597-1600; Rome, Palazzo Farnese), Annibale Carracci used the pose to denote Venus' hesitation on whether to give in to the sexual advances of a mere mortal.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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