Two Historical Sex Symbols in Florence


posted by on History & Culture

David Michelangelo and Venus Botticelli

Two real sex symbols: David and Venus. The David image is by Dan LXIX

Where can you find two of the most famous sex symbols in history? Those in question are of course Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Venus, and they can both be found in the beautiful city of Florence. Housed in Florence’s Accademia Museum and the Uffizi Gallery respectively, these Renaissance masterpieces are not only a joy to witness, but are also said to be true prototypes of beauty in human beings.

The Statue of David in Florence, which was completed by Michelangelo in 1504 after 4 years of hard work, was originally placed in the famous Piazza della Signoria, next to the Palazzo Vecchio. Unfortunately however, due to acts of vandalism and exposure to weather, it was transferred to the Accademia in 1813, in order to guarantee its conservation. It is there that it remains; a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of Michelangelo’s greatest works. Portraying the biblical king David when he decides to do battle with Goliath, this statue has now become one of the most recognisable statues in art history, and is regarded as a symbol of human strength and youthful beauty. Sculpted under the Italian artistic discipline of disegno, David is depicted in a magnificent pose with beautiful contours; it is a slender and truly divine statue. This is man at his absolute best; vigorously healthy, competent, handsome and, well, just perfect!

Moving away from the male to the female form, another true symbol of beauty is Botticelli’s Venus. The Uffizi gallery is home to one of the most famous and most appreciated paintings in the world, The Birth of Venus. In this symbolic work of art, which was commissioned by the Medici, Venus emerges from the sea as a beautiful, fully grown woman; the most beautiful of the goddesses. With her elongated torso and slightly off balance stance, this is undoubtedly a fantasy image. She is depicted as an Italian Renaissance ideal, with her pale skin, voluptuous curves and flowing red locks. The epitome of femininity, she is surrounded by peaceful imagery and soothing colours. Through this painting, Botticelli has portrayed the perfect female figure, full of life and undeniably beautiful. Despite the theme of fantasy in this painting, it is in fact said that Botticelli based his Venus on a real life model, namely Simonetta Cattaneo de Candia, who was linked to the Medici family through marriage, and was known as being the most beautiful woman of the Renaissance.

If you are keen to witness the artistic wonders that are Michelangeo’s David in Florence, as well as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, then join us on our popular one day guided city tour, which includes visits to the Accademia and Uffizi galleries. This one day Florence visit not only gives you the chance to see two of the most famous artistic masterpieces in the world, but also provides an expert local guide who will give you lots of fascinating insights into Renaissance art and the beautiful city of Florence.

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