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Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was the most beautiful of the goddesses but was married to the ugliest of the gods, the limp smithy Hephaestus. Aphrodite had many affairs with men, both human and divine, resulting in many children, including Eros, Anteros, Hymenaios, and Aeneas.
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A few years ago, a friend of mine asked about the myth of the Judgment of Paris. This is the story I told my friend. A son was born to King Priam and Queen Hecuba. As devout followers of Apollo, the god of prophecy, they made sure to consult the oracle right then.
Has it really taken Zeus eighteen years to find a judge for a beauty contest? I note that timeline inconsistencies are not unique to Greek epic, and cite by way of example the creation stories both of them in the book of Genesis. I then turn to a discussion of The Judgment of Paris as a favourite subject of visual artists, from the time of Classical Greece to the present.
German Renaissance Painter and Printmaker - This mythological theme was very popular with the humanist-educated bourgeoisie as well as the court and Cranach the Elder painted it often. The Judgment of Paris was a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympus--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena--for the prize of a golden apple addressed to "the fairest".
He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformationwhose cause he embraced with enthusiasm. He was a close friend of Martin Luther. Cranach also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art.
The scene is connected to the poem The Honey Thief by Theokritos - BC : Once Eros stole honey from a beehive and was bitten in the fingers by the insects. He stomped on the ground, jumped up and rebelled against the goddess Aphrodite his mother that such a tiny animal like the bee can cause such a powerful pain. But Aphrodite replied laughing that he shouldn't complain, because: "Don't you resemble the bee yourself? How tiny are you, too, and make such mighty wounds!
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Cupid, the god of erotic love, is complaining to his mother, Venus, the goddess of love: he has been stung by bees after stealing a honeycomb. Venus directs her attention towards the viewer instead. Her narrowed gaze appears flirtatious and she clutches the branch of an apple tree, evocative of the biblical temptress Eve. This is a morality tale, based on a Greek poem from the third century BC — though Venus wears a velvet hat and jewelled choker in the style of those worn at the Saxon court where Cranach worked from