Venus is a Roman goddess who is most often associated with love and fertility. She is also known as the patron goddess of prostitutes and the protector against vice. Julius Caesar himself worshiped her as “Mother Venus” and had a temple erected in her name. He thought that the Roman people were descendants of this goddess. She was also worshiped under many other epithets, but these are the most common.
In Greek and Roman mythology the name of Venus is virtually interchangeable with that of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. Most of the tales of these two goddesses are identical. Both are known for their jealousy, their beauty and for their affairs with both gods and mortals.
Venus is the daughter of the Greek god Jupiter and the Greek goddess, Dione. Her husband is the Greek god of fire, Vulcan. She is the mother of two children, one with her husband and one with a mortal lover.
Cupid is the Greek god of love and the son of Venus and (by many descriptions) her husband, Vulcan. Cupid is often depicted as a beautiful youth with wings, who is armed with a bow and arrows. People in love are commonly described as being “struck by Cupid’s arrow.”
Venus’ other son, Aenid is the offspring of Venus and her mortal lover, Anchises. According to the myth, Venus seduced Anchises without disclosing the fact that she was a goddess. Anchises discovered her deception after they conceived Aenid. Aenid was one of the heroes of the Trojan War. When Troy fell it is said that he carried his elderly father out of the fallen city on his back.
The Cult of Venus first originated in Ardea and Latvinium, Latium in 293 B.C. The oldest known temple dedicated to the goddess was erected at this time. Numerous other temples were built for Venus throughout the area. She was worshiped under her many different epithets by many different groups of Romans. She was also depicted in countless sculptures. Some of the most beautiful artwork in the world contains the presumed likeness of Venus.
Venus is invariably depicted as a beautiful, seductive woman, though her figure varies with the taste of the artist. Many sculptures and paintings of her depict the goddess in different states of undress. Some are more modest. It is likely that some depictions of Venus have been lost to time or destroyed for their pagan symbolism. The following is a list of some of the most famous sculptures and paintings of Venus that have thankfully survived the years.
The Birth of Venus (1485) by Sandro Boticelli, is currently on display at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
Venus de Milo (sculpture) (130-100 B.C.), artist unknown, is currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
The Birth of Venus (painting) (1879) by William Adolphe Bouguereau, is currently on display at the Musee de Orsay in Paris, France.
Venus Victrix (sculpture) (1805-1808) by Antonio Canova, is currently on display at the Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy.
Venus, Satyr, Cupid (painting) (1525) by Antonio Allegri, is currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
The Greek goddess Venus is symbolic of love, beauty and desire. She is the object of countless works of art. Her name and likeness have been familiar to mankind for thousands of years and, with any luck, will be for thousands more.
Venus, retreived 6/8/09, answers.com/topic/venus_mythology
Venus (in art), retreived 6/8/09, wikipedia.org/wiki/venus_mythology
Gill, N.S., The Roman Goddess Venus and the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, retreived 6/8/09ancienthistory.about.com/od/aphroditevenus/a/Venus.htm