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The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel

The Birth of Venus, 1875

Alexandre Cabanel

Venus, the goddess of love, is said to have been born of sea-foam. This depiction of the goddess, looking directly out at the viewer, is sensuous in every way, from the silky brushwork that makes her milky skin glow with life, to her languid outstretched pose, to the long red hair that reaches past her waist and trails over her arm into the turbulent sea. Five cherubs cavort in the air above Venus. The picture was a hit with the Paris art world as well as a commercial success; the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte purchased it for his personal collection.

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