Venus and the Half-Shell

Two paintings of Venus with a half-shell, one by Botticelli and one by American painter Louise Craven Hourrigan

Two views of Venus:  The first is a detail from The Birth of Venus by the Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli. Painted in the 15th century, Botticelli’s painting shows the copper-haired goddess emerging from an open shell. The second painting is a satirical response by American artist Louise Craven Hourrigan. In this modern version of the ancient myth, Venus wears a pale mask. A sign for Shell gasoline rises in the distance.

Hourrigan was a surrealist and free-thinker who often mocked social conventions and the objectification of women. I like to think she would be pleased that her painting, Venus and the Half-Shell, became the cover for Cyborg Sister, a chapbook of poems about manufactured beauty.

Two paintings of Venus with a half-shell, one by Botticelli and one by American painter Louise Craven Hourrigan

 

Left: The Birth of Venus (Detail), Google Art Project, Public Domain 

Right: Venus and the Half-Shell © Louise Craven Hourrigan

 

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