Behind The Blue Door

Statement Dining | March 23, 2016 |

More than just Venus:

Botticelli Reimagined at the V&A



From Ursula Andress emerging from the waves in Bond’s Dr No, to Lady Gaga’s Dolce & Gabbana dress and the Andy Warhol venus screenprint – Sandro Botticelli’s influences are firmly embedded in modern culture – inspiring music, film, fashion, photography and art for centuries.

After his death in 1510, Botticelli faded from view for 300 years, until his rediscovery in the 19th century. However, some argue that his sphere of influence now surpasses that of his peers, even rivalling Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. This legacy has also helped define our notion of feminine beauty.

Now the Renaissance artist is to feature in a new exhibition at London’s V&A, opening on 5 March and including painting, fashion, film, drawing, photography, tapestry, sculpture and print.  Fifty original pieces will be exhibited alongside work by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, René Magritte, Elsa Schiaparelli, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and others, to examine how artists and designers have been influenced by Botticelli.


Botticelli: The Birth of Venus (detail) Image source: Wikipedia

His best-known work – the fantastical Birth of Venus, painted around the mid 1480s – captures the very essence of the Renaissance period, when individualism, humanism, and the natural world sprang into public consciousness.

The painting, based on Poliziano’s poem Giotra and depicting a Greek-Roman goddess emerging from the shore in a shell, has spawned countless imitations, from the Botticelli-themed Lady Gaga dress by Dolce and Gabbana to David LaChapelle’s kitsch and colourful Rebirth of Venus (below).


Venus Dress – Dolce & Gabbana S/S Fashion Show in Milan, Italy 1993 and Rebirth of Venus, 2009 by David LaChapelle. Image credits: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This new exhibition isn’t just a celebration of one of the art world’s leading lights but also of how the Botticelli story continues to evolve in a modern world.

If you still need persuading to book a ticket, perhaps these lyrics from a Bob Dylan song, also featured in the exhibition, will help:

“With your silhouette when the sunlight dims

Into your eyes where the moonlight swims

And your matchbook songs and your gypsy hymns

Who among them would try to impress you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands”

Excerpt from Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, by Bob Dylan.


When to visit: The exhibition runs from 5 March – 3 July 2016 and is organised by the V&A and the Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Prices vary but it’s free for members.


Keen interest in art? Whet your appetite with our edit of the new ceramic talents emerging from the studio.


Shop the Story

Dine with your own work of art with the Wedgwood Palladian collection - inspired by neoclassical architecture. Or, be inspired by the classical luxury of the Renaissance Gold range.

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The Jasper Conran Tisbury collection offers a plethora of informal tableware and home accessories that allow you to mix the collection into your everyday living. The tailored shapes with renowned Jasper Conran precision combine with a resilient porcelain, glass and wood to withstand wear and tear of everyday use. Natural colour styles contribute to an effortless look and feel.

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