The Birth of Venus (approx. 1486)
The two-dimensional character of this masterpiece is reminiscent of Greek painting. The subject also refers to Venus Anadyomene (Venus, rising from the sea), a lost painting by famous Greek artist Apelles. According to Pliny, Alexander the Great offered his mistress as a model. When Apelles fell in love with her, Alexander let him have her.
The story has it that Botticelli was in love with Simonetta, Nobleman Marco Vespucci’s wife, his entire life. It is her that Venus was based on. She died ten years before Botticelli who, at his own request, was buried at her feet in the church of Ognissanti.