An Artist's Quest

A Botticelli Mash-Up

When I took the photo of the Calla Lilies earlier in the week I had every intention of doing some sort of tribute to Georgia O’Keefe or perhaps Diego Rivera but the muse had other ideas.  I kept thinking about the Angel Gabrielle and his trumpet.  The Calla’s trumpet form kept toning in my ear, directing me to my old art history books still manning the shelves from college days.  I looked up the early renaissance painter, Botticelli, I was thinking of his Annunciation painting in which the angel comes to a very reluctant Virgin Mary with the news that she shall carry God’s child.  Right there next to this image was Botticelli’s most recognizable painting of today, The Birth of Venus.  These two images seemed to embody the twofold symbolism of purity and sexuality that the lovely Calla Lily carries and echoes the dual stereotypes that have constrained women throughout time, history, art and society.  And so this Botticelli mash-up was born, The Birth of Woman.  A reluctant Mary with Venus’ flowing tresses is born from the twin nature of the Calla Lily.  The angel Gabrielle calls her with his Calla trumpet while she demurely resists his advances.  As much as women have progressed in our society, this struggle still persists.  One need not look far to see the push to be pure and the signal to be sexy.  From Barbies’ and Brat dolls to movies and video games, girls are fed a fantasy of an unattainable double life; the Siren and the Saint rolled into on big Venus/Mary mash-up.

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