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Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love
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Our received image of the Roman goddess of love (and her Greek counterpart Aphrodite) comes mostly from Renaissance art. There she tends to be seductively naked – basically, a voluptuous classical pin-up.
But Bettany Hughes wants to uncover something older and deeper. Taking her lead from a suffragette who slashed a famous Velazquez painting of Venus in the National Gallery, Hughes says “I want to take a knife to the idea of Venus as a bit of divine totty,” and proceeds to do a fascinating job of tracing the goddess’s evolution as a formidable presence from Stone Age Cyprus onwards.
Bettany Hughes discovers the surprising roots and modern relevance of Venus, demonstrating that the mythical figure is far more complex than first meets the eye. A far cry from the soft, nude female form we are now accustomed to, the war-like, martially-clad Venus was worshipped in Rome by Julius Caesar and emulated by the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, and has been a constantly evolving figure.
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