"For this series I have chosen some of the defining images of a past in conscious contrast to our experience of the present. These paintings that appear to reflect a more ordered and tranquil world are then infused with the energy of our times: digital, dynamic and disruptive. In the thick of experiencing the fourth industrial revolution and the uncertainties of the environmental crises and post-truth politics, she traces the paths of our past to seek clues to our future as humans."

“These days we are more and more severed from our collective past. I feel that this estrangement brings with it a big loss and by that I don’t mean the esthetical apprehension of the past, but a loss of wisdom, maturity and identity.” ALEA PINAR DU PRE

‘After the Masters’ playfully builds a new bridge between past and present, the analogue and the digital. It questions the meaning of current events, the momentum of rapidly developing technology and our cultural heritage. It invites us to consider how our own society’s iconic relationship with technology will be seen in the future. It reaches a hand towards who we were, while we are becoming something completely new.


The Original "Birth of Venus" By Sandro Botticelli’

The theme of the Birth of Venus was taken from the writings of the ancient poet, Homer.  According to the traditional account, after Venus was born, she rode on a seashell and sea foam to the island of Cythera.  In the painting we see here, Venus is prominently depicted in the center, born out of the foam as she rides to shore.  On the left, the figure of Zephyrus carries the nymph Chloris (alternatively identified as “Aura”) as he blows the wind to guide Venus.

On shore, a figure who has been identified as Pomona, or as the goddess of Spring, waits for Venus with mantle in hand.  The mantle billows in the wind from Zephyrus’ mouth.

The composition is similar in some respects to that of the Primavera. Venus is slightly to the right of center, and she is isolated against the background so no other figures overlap her.  She has a slight tilt of the head, and she leans in an awkward contrapposto-like stance.

Botticelli paid much attention to her hair and hairstyle, which reflected his interest in the way women wore their long hair in the late fifteenth century.  He gave Venus an idealized face which is remarkably free of blemishes, and beautifully shaded her face to distinguish a lighter side and a more shaded side.

Of obvious importance in this painting is the nudity of Venus.  The depiction of nude women was not something that was normally done in the Middle Ages, with a few exceptions in specific circumstances.  For the modeling of this figure, Botticelli turned to an Aphrodite statue, such as the Aphrodite of Cnidos, in which the goddess attempts to cover herself in a gesture of modestly.

In painting Venus, Botticelli painted a dark line around the contours of her body.  This made it easier to see her bodily forms against the background, and it also emphasized the color of her milky skin.  The result of all of this is that Venus almost looks like her flesh is made out of marble, underscoring the sculpturesque nature of her body.

Comparison of the Capitoline Venus (after the Aphrodite of Cnidos) with Venus from Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”.

The demand for this type of scene, of course, was humanism, which was alive and well in the court of Lorenzo d’Medici in the 1480s.  Here, Renaissance humanism was open not only to the use of a pagan sculpture as a model, but also a pagan narrative for the subject matter.

Although the Birth of Venus is not a work which employed Renaissance perspectival innovations, the elegance of the classical subject matter was something that would have intrigued wealthy Florentines who patronized this type of work.  However, it would not have appealed to everyone, like those who viewed the worldly behavior of the ruling Medici family as corrupt or vile.  By the 1490s, the tension that resulted from the clash between courtly excess and those who wanted religious reform came to a climax when the preacher Savonarola preached his crusade to the people of Florence.  One of the people influenced by the preacher was Botticelli, whose change of heart moved him to destroy some of his early painting by fire.




Alea Pinar Du Pre
Rebirth of Venus, 2021
Original Acrylic
63 x 45 in