The Nude looks good. Her lower part is firm. A nice, round bottom tops the well-muscled legs. She shows fabulous proportions rounded at the right places. But often, women don't really like themselves. Maybe our nude female also thinks that her bosom is a little too small and her bottom too large. Rubbish, why should she? So she meets the spectator's looks with self-confidence, her mouth turned to a pout. Perky - yes. Sinful - no way. Just as if she was asking: "Hey onlooker, what do you want? I'm nude, so what?" Or is she looking into an imaginary mirror and tells herself something like: "Well, we should definitely drop a couple of pounds before summer".
The citizens of Offenburg will see this attractive Nude about 500 times this spring. They have no way of avoiding her. Because that is how many of his red plastic sculptures the artist placed on the park grounds. She appears between bushes, trees and on the lawn. I am a Venus, she wants to tell you. Am I not beautiful?
Venus - goddess of perfect beauty, sexual love. Hesiod described her as "Born of Froth". She is said to be born from drops of blood which dripped into the ocean when Uranus penis was cut off. But the less bloodcurdling interpretation of Homer says that she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. She also was the wife of Vulcanus / Hephaistos, regretfully with a pronounced tendency for extramarital affairs. Adonis and Mars were her lovers; with the latter she had the children Eros und Harmonia. Aeneas, the progenitor of the Romans, was the child of an affair with the Trojan Anchises. So she became the symbol for the supporters of free love. Venus was a well-liked goddess. No wonder. Her cult also meant that enjoying carnal indulgence was exercising a mass of sorts in her honor.
Lastly, Venus is not just beautiful. She is a very complex symbol of fleshly temptations, the embodiment of culture and tranquility. A sultry adulteress desired by men and idolized by women. A symbol of lust for life and on top of that the brightest star in the heavens. The fund of occidental embodiments on this subject is correspondingly large. Homage was rendered to such a goddess already in the stone age. With its 25,000 years of age, the Venus of Willendorf is very likely the oldest sculpture of humanity.
No sign of beauty the way we conceive it today. The eleven centimeter small fertility symbol bewilders with over dimensional breasts. On an overhanging belly, signs of past pregnancies show. A total contrast to above is the most famous Venus in Art History: The Venus of Milo, a larger than life marble sculpture (120 - 130 B.C.) shows the goddess after a bath. A cloth, tied loosely around the hips reveals more than it hides. The Venus - for the first time as a female ideal of beauty, a woman who possibly looks at her reflection complaisantly in the shiny backside of a shield (that of Mars?). She is also idealized in Botticelli's Birth of Venus as she travels across the ocean , froth-borne, in a seashell, long hair flowing.
The subject "Grooming of Venus" is without question an invention of the Renaissance and a great chance to demonstrate liberality. This image was characterized by Giorgio Vasari: The most beautiful of all women accepts the aid of her three graces in beautifying herself. An intimate scene which tickles male phantasies.
Of course, Venus became an erotic subject. Venus in tender embrace with Mars or Adonis. Tizian, Cranach, Rubens, Boucher - all of them focused their attention on the erotic aspect of the nude, accepted the illustration of her beauty as a challenge. Only during Rokoko Venus had briefly been abandoned as personification of the erotic. Parlor madams and prostitutes took her place. But soon she reappeared as the ironized figure of the eternally female by Cézanne; as an object of desire, legs spread, admired by a horde of slobbering males. Max Beckmann shows the encounter of Mars and Venus as a balance of power governed by sexuality. The woman shamelessly enticing, the man submissive - a conception reflecting the discourse of the genders around 1900.
Our Venus in Offenburg is neither vamp nor mistress but a normal woman. She could work in the unemployment office, at the café on the corner or on a barn yard. But why is she nude? "Putting a skirt on Venus seemed a stupid idea to me somehow"says her creator, the artist Ottmar Hörl. Her nudity is not really ostensible. And why does he show her as many times as 500? Maybe to release her from the statue context. After all, we have enough undressed figures that are provocatively posed on the edges of fountains on public places. Our nude is not posing, her posture is relaxed. And why plastic? Maybe because this material can best be multiplied. The Venus of Offenburg belongs to everybody. An homage to women - just because.