The Birth of Venus
© Graham Stephen/ The Artist’s Estate

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The Birth of Venus 1934
  • Scottish Art
This painting is a rare example of Scottish Surrealism. It was painted as a wedding present for the artist James McIntosh Patrick. McIntosh Patrick said of Baird's gift, “It rather shocked me as he painted so few pictures yet he gave this one away. He was our best man and, being a sentimental person, he chose Venus, the goddess of love, as the subject of the painting. He was a keen Scottish Nationalist; he also admired Botticelli and Crivelli, the Renaissance painters. Hence the 'Scottish Venus' as he called it, arose out of his associations with a wedding, his involvement with Scottish Nationalism, his love for messing about in boats, and his love of Botticelli.”

Glossary Open

Renaissance

A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Surrealism

A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

Renaissance, Surrealism

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA 4473
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 51.00 x 69.00 cm (framed: 76.30 x 94.10 x 7.50 cm)
  • Credit Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 2002