The concept of the goddess Venus has forever been carved,
painted and captured in story. The aspect of love and
beauty embodied in the 'perfect woman' has prevailed in every
culture and civilization. She is purity, and at the same time,
suggests procreation. The earliest known artifact of Venus is
the Venus of Willendorf. We can assume the shape of this
Venus was idealized when it was carved around 24,000 BCE.
Fascinated by El Greco and Botticelli (above left), the Spanish author Cervantes was clearly inspired by the
painters' Venus. Homer, Plato, Hesio, Waterhouse, Titian and Shakespeare, to name a few, fused art and
literature together. They joined their imaginations keeping the poetic Venus beautiful and mysterious, even
shaping attitudes about love, in different time periods. Throughout history, writing, poetry and painting
have been metaphorically linked. The two art forms resemble one another to such an extent that when you
write a narration, you 'paint' an image, and when you paint, you 'write'. Which came first - words or art?
The stories of the femme Venus are most represented in the past as mourners of tragedy. Once strong
and sensual Venuses wandered the earth lamenting their lovers after betrayals, wars and deaths. The first
concept appearing in various paintings was a melancholy Venus looking at her reflection. What was life,
without her man? Tragedy has been the quintessential 'Venus' story from Romeo and Juliet to Star Wars.
|Venus of Willendorf
Different names for Venus that have evoked the imagery of her archetypal significance have been
Ishtar-Astarte, Ashtoreth, Inanna, Anat, Aphrodite, Dionaea. Medea, Cytherea, Cypris, Xochiquetzal,
Scylla, Hecate, Ariadne and Athena, to name a few. These faces from the ancient images of a
mother goddess offer a crystallized view of the goddess as Queen of Heaven, sorceress, captive
maiden and warrior.
Identification with the planet Venus in many different cultures gave the femme Venus a cosmic and
mythical beginning. The color of the planet, it's changing orbits and surface 'moods' could be
reasons different cultures chose the planet Venus to manifest into a mythical Goddess representing
sensuality and passion.
Some artists took the drama further
by painting a youthful Venus looking
into her mirror and seeing the
refection of an aged Venus
(example: Diego Velázquez).
Venus then had to morn her beauty
and mortality, suffering another
layer of melancholy. Poor thing.
Why bother feeling any happiness,
ever, when the fates were so cruel?
Early 'Venus' portraits suggested a private
knowledge of the woman portrayed as well
revealing Spiritual and symbolic beliefs of her
time. Today is a great time to realize our
spiritual awakenings. So many aspects of
today's woman should be noted in portraiture.
At this time in history, the feminine aspect is
surging to the forefront in positive ways and
embraced openly. Media, travel, education
and other countless influences are adding to
the ascendancy that is occuring for balance.
It is my intent to look within my portrait model
and feature her attributes of sensuousness,
inner beauty and Spiritualness. The Venus
Mirror will continue to wonderfully stamp the
time line of history.
Myth suggests that Venus was cooing
over her Adonis and suddenly caught a
glimpse of her reflection in the blade of his
sword. At that moment she realized her
own power and beauty. It is upon this
aspect that many artists and poets have
lingered. Historically, the feminine has
been muted when her 'power' became too
great. There is something powerful indeed
when we realize who we are.
Reflecting The Essence of The Venus Mirror
|The Rokeby Venus
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez
c. 1490 - 1576
|Venus at her Mirror
Peter Paul Rubens
|Mirrored Self Portrait, With Orb
Painted by Susun Coleman 1997
|Mirrored Venus with Orbs
Photographed by Susun Coleman
|The Mirror of Venus
Burne - Jones Edward
1833 - 1898
Photographed by Susun
|Venus Searching for Her Orb
Photographed by Susun Coleman 05
|The Venus Michelle, with Glass
3'.5 x 4'.5 Acrylic on Canvas, Painted by Susun Coleman 2005
|Bimmer Venus Mirror
Photographed by Susun Coleman 2006
|The Venus Waits In Her Mirror
Photographed by Susun Coleman 2006
|Venus's Orb Clef
Susun Coleman 2005
|Self Portrait With Orb
Susun Coleman Miller 2007
Writers and artists today have learned they can effect change. In my opinion, this has facilitated a new
paradigm. Consider the Venus of 2007 that quite possibly understands her own worth and does not need
'saving'. She has conquered self-destructive thoughts. She is strong and willing to sanely adjust her
fears and prioritizes her desires. She is admired because she feels strong, beautiful, and mysterious as
she seeks emerging Truths. This Venus can freely and lovingly speak her story. This Venus is the
evolving woman I wish to portray in my paintings and photographs.
|Venus Thinking of You
Photographed by Susun Coleman Miller
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