Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” through the mind of Senju.
From Senju’s Instagram post:
”Kinyou” (Venus) 40×110 cm
This piece is the second time I create my personal version of a famous work of art. A few years ago I payed tribute to Gustav Klimt’s ”the Kiss” and this time I have been so utterly bold as to create my version of Sandro Botticelli’s ”the Birth of Venus”.
It is not a simple task to transform an iconic Renaissance masterpiece into my own style. My work is heavily influenced by Japanese art, both traditional and contemporary, and when I first began working I struggled to find a path that felt comfortable yet challenging enough.
In order to find a way forward I decided to leave the Roman mythology of the love and fertility godess Venus (Afrodite in Greece), and instead find a way by studying the planet that carries her name. After all, the heavenly bodies is something all humans and cultures share. I found some interesting things.
In Japanese mythology and history, Venus is one of the 9 Luminaries. She is associated with the weekday Friday and the element metal. Metal attracts dew which rise into water (and in traditional Japanese Shunga, water is often used to symbolise female sexuality). Back in 1st and 2nd century China, Venus was portrayed as a beautiful woman dressed in white robes and playing a lute. Venus is also associated with the Japanese Bodhisattva Seishi (who bestows the strength of wisdom in humans) and the Buddha Amida (Buddha of infinite light and life).
One of the first things I decided to change in my version was the giant sea shell Botticelli’s Venus is standing in. I chose the more curved and irregular conch shell instead, mainly because the opening slit reminds me of a vagina. I made it clear to the viewer by painting it like I imagined it.
The water is blood red to symbolise female strength and the sky filled with a myriad of golden stars reminding the viewer of the vastness of the universe and that we are all connected to everything in it. The painting also shows both morning and night as Venus is referred to as the Morning Star as well as the Evening Star.
The Romans called it Lucifer (latin for light bringer) in the morning and Vesper (latin for evening) at night.
Printed on heavy matt high quality paper. Signed and numbered limited edition of 50 copies in each size. Each individual print is stamped with the artist’s personal read seal (hanko).
Senju’s art is rooted deeply in traditional Japanese art, especially the erotic and sensual world of Shunga.