Venus and Mars
In Venus and Mars, Botticelli portrays the Roman goddess Venus and the god Mars in a relaxed sensuality. Venus lies, watching Mars sleep, while four young satyrs play around, trying to wake him. In the background is the sea in which Venus was born. There is no exact literary reference for the painting, but the closest legend was in a poem by Poliziano, who in one stanza describes Venus laying down, watching Mars sleep. The Medici family, who commissioned many of Botticelli’s most famous works, were used as models in this painting, the youngest Giuliano di Piero de Medici modeling for the sleeping Mars.