Friday, 10 October 2014

Venus Verticordia

This watercolour version of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's most sensuous painting Venus Verticordia (1868) goes under the hammer in Sotheby's London auction of British & Irish Art on 10 December, estimated at £1m to £1.5m. It's full of erotic symbolism: the secretive bower in which the naked young woman stands, the seductive perfume of honeysuckle and crimson roses, the forbidden fruit of an apple beside a bare breast, the phallic golden arrow pointing at the nipple, the bright halo suggesting virginity, the flight of brimstone butterflies .... It was all too sexy for art critic John Ruskin, who until then had been Rossetti's admirer. The face is that of Rossetti's early muse Alexa Wilding. Note the similarity to his latter muse Jane Morris (CLICK).


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