Sample Paper #1
Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482) (1984) by
acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen
Viewed at Arkansas Arts Center Andy Warhol exhibition (October 28, 2008)
A Modern Venus
Andy Warhol’s piece titled Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli,
Birth of Venus, 1482) represents the face of the goddess Venus. This piece was made in
1984 as a depiction of the face of Venus from the earlier painting The Birth of Venus by
Sandro Botticelli that was completed in 1482. The piece’s present location is the
Arkansas Arts Center, and its original location is the Andy Warhol Museum in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The piece is acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, and it can only
be seen from one side because it is hanging on the wall.
The work is a colorful representation of the face of the goddess Venus as depicted
earlier in The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. However, Warhol uses more colors in his
work. Venus’s face and neck are pink while her hair is black, red, orange, and yellow. In
contrast, the background is a solid light blue color. In Details of Renaissance Paintings,
Venus’s face and hair are emphasized and the dominant elements are her hair because of
the warm colors and her gaze.
Warhol uses implied lines to direct viewers’ eyes around the artwork. The
implied lines are the strands of Venus’s hair that direct viewers’ eyes to the right bottom,
middle, and top because the strands are going in each of these directions. One bundle of
hair goes down to the bottom of the piece on the left side close to her face. This bundle
of hair brings some direction to the left side, but not a lot because the left side is mostly
empty. However, this emptiness is balanced asymmetrically by Venus’s gaze toward the
bottom left corner and the light color used in the empty space. The light color of the
empty space is visually light; therefore, it does not have as much weight as the darker,
warmer colors of Venus’s face and hair. This visual lightness along with Venus’ gaze is
strong enough to balance the multitude of hair and part of a flower on the right side.
This artwork is composed of shapes because it is two-dimensional. Most of the
shapes are formed by lines and shifts in color. For example, Venus’s red hair is formed
by a shift from the...