MCDF Raphael Galatea & Botticelli Birth of Venus by Botticelli Discussion

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The Birth of Venus

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485-86), tempera on canvas

The Triumph of Galatea

Raphael’s Galatea (1514), fresco

Compare and Contrast Raphael’s High Renaissance fresco Galatea [9’8″ x 7’5″] with Botticelli’s Early Renaissance painting Birth of Venus [5’8″ x 9’1″]. Be sure and discuss the stylistic differences such as the artists’ use of light, line, color and composition. *(Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with the Botticelli, just rely on your visual observation.)

If you want to write a little about how the cultural context of the Renaissance influences these artworks (their subject matter?) please do!

The Compare and Contrast essay is a popular method for discussing works of art. You will be asked to write an essay using this format on each exam. But your answer here doesn’t need to be a full essay, just a paragraph or so 🙂 These are merely guidelines for you to consider when shaping your response.

Compare and Contrast essay questions are intended to stimulate you to explore the differences between the period styles of the two works of art compared, and /or the individual styles of the two artists who created them. You may also explore not only the stylistic differences between the two works but discuss the effect that these stylistic differences had on the subject matter, theme or symbolism of the works. Compare should tell you to look for similarities while Contrast should suggest looking for differences. In any compare and contrast analysis you ought to begin with the basics such as identifying the work of art (artist, title, period/style) and giving a description of the work and its special features. The following is a list of issues to consider in your analysis:

culture/artist (who produced it?)

period/style (when and where was it produced?)

function (what was its purpose?)

physical context (how was it used?) how does it relate to its environment? where was it located?)

medium/material (what is it made of?)

scale (what size is it?)

subject matter (who or what is the subject? Doesn’t apply to architecture)

sacred or secular (is it religious or non-religious in function and/or subject?)

artistic conventions (what reoccurring techniques, devices or motifs are used?)

abstraction/realism (how are the figures and forms rendered?)

cultural context (what was going on historically, socially, politically, religiously during the period in which it was produced?)

symbolism/theme (why was it produced? What symbolic meaning or message does it convey to the viewer?)


  • To further explore the content we covered in this module
  • To identify and analyze an artwork’s stylistic and/or cultural characteristics to evaluate how it exemplifies its period style and culture
  • To practice written analysis, including using art historical vocabulary in your writing


  • Word processing software

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