As a way to translate the research I have done for my seminar paper, I made a loose leaf book that revolves around the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. To begin with I knew that Botticelli’s painting is well known in today’s visual culture. Many modern interpretations circulate in the media, and I was initially intrigued by why the painting was still so famous and relevant in today’s society. As I chose different interpretations to use for my paper, I realized that the artists who recreate the iconic scene all use different methods/ attempt to convey different messages, but still reference the original in a way that it is obvious it is Venus from Birth of Venus. My first draft thesis while making this book was about how Botticelli’s style has transcended through time, one of the biggest contributors as to why the piece is so successful.
To convey my thesis, I decided to make it loose leaf book with text that can be laid on top of any photo page by a reader, to show the timelessness of the original and its several iterations. The pages are 3.5×5.5 inches, similar to a standard postcard, because readers will have to pick up the pages and hold them close and look at them with care, allowing for a more intimate experience. I wanted to emphasize the amount of detail in the original that is observed, and used to make iterations of it, so I included 20 pages of close up details of the original, each detail corresponding with a different iteration on the other side. Although there is only 20 pages, each one is double sided, giving the book 40 different “pages” to manipulate. These photos can be placed under text I printed on clear paper, in that the image can still be seen and related to the text. Each page of text comes from a source I used when doing initial research, describing the original, but can still be applicable to the iterations because the style (pose, color, composition) are generally the same, in keeping with the theme of timelessness.
My intent was to allow the reader to control the experience. They ultimately decide which text can be applied to what image. Although there are only 40 physical pages (text and images), the possibilities are endless, representing how Birth of Venus will continue to be held in the highest regard.