Thursday, October 25, 2007

Venus, Cupid and Me

This is one of my favorite paintings by Titian. It has been hanging in my master bathroom since the fall of 2004. My daughter and I had gone to a Renaissance exhibit in Memphis and I just had to have it. At the time, I was 20 pounds lighter. These days I look at it and think: My body really looks like her. Why can't plumpness be fashionable? Immediately, I start to feel bad about myself. What was once my favorite print, has become a source of disgust. If only I could disassociate my own flabby tummy from it and return to the time when I enjoyed this lovely piece. Why should my similarity to the woman's shape change the way I view it? Isn't she still beautiful? Yet Venus seems to say to me, "No one would paint you. I'm afraid you're past your prime, dear." Then she sticks out her tongue, lolls happily with the animals and angels, completely comfortable with her rotundity. Saucy wench.

Actually, there are many things I love about this painting. Initially, I was drawn to it because of the Papillon at the foot of the chaise. Venus' body seems to glow against the dark scenery, lending an ethereal quality. Cupid reminds me of a Raphael angel with his round face and pudgy hands. I always wanted a nude Renaissance print hanging somewhere in my house. Little did I know that I would soon take on the likeness of the nude and end up with a complex.

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