Aphrodite Greek Goddess of Love
and Beauty

Aphrodite Greek goddess of love was the most beautiful among the Olympian goddesses. Her Roman name was Venus.

(If you're in a hurry to see pictures of Aphrodite, you'll find some when you scroll down the page and others when you click here.)



There are two versions about her birth. According to one of them, she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

The other version is better known: Aphrodite Greek goddess of love was born from the foam of the sea. When Cronos emasculated his father, Uranus, the blood drops that fell into the sea generated the goddess. The Zephyr gently blew and pushed her to the shore of the island of Cyprus, where she was received and dressed by the Hours, and after that she was taken to Mount Olympus.

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The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli
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As she was so beautiful, she refused all the gods, because none of them was good enough for her. That's why Zeus punished her and decided to marry her to Hephaestus, the lame and ugly blacksmith god (or maybe Zeus just decided that because otherwise the gods would have turned one against the other). Of course, the result was that she would always cheat on her husband.

Her most famous lover was Ares, the god of war, but their love affair had quite a funny ending.

She also loved Adonis, a young man of extreme beauty. She spent all the time going hunting with him. When he was killed by a boar, she looked for his body and mourned over him. Her delicate feet were hurt by thorns and the drops of blood turned into beautiful flowers, the anemones.

Aphrodite Greek goddess of love also loved a mortal, Anchises, and helped him and their son, Aeneas, flee from the city of Troy to Italy, so she might be considered the "foremother" of the Romans.

Aphrodite represented the power of love, from which no one can escape. She would bestow her blessings on those who worshipped her, but she would also be ruthless with those who despised love.

She wanted to punish Eos, the goddess of dawn for having accepted Ares' courtship (after all, he was her ex-lover), so she inspired Eos an unnatural love for Orion.

Aphrodite Greek goddess of love punished the women of Lemnos, who didn't want to worship her, and gave them an awful smell, so their husbands, disgusted, preferred other women.

Narcissus refused to worship the goddess, so she punished him to fall in love with his own image.

When Paris had to choose the most beautiful between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, in order to decide who deserves the golden apple thrown by Eris, each of the goddesses promised him something. The goddess of love promised him - what else? - the love of the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen (there was a little detail about her - she was married to Agamemnon, but it didn't matter for the goddess - and neither did for Paris!) - and that's how the war of Troy began (I guess Frenchmen are right when they say "Cherchez la femme"). This was intended as a blessing, I suppose, but it lead to grief and death for a lot of pleople, as well as to Paris's death.

The Judgement of Paris, 1638/39


The Judgement of...
Peter Paul...
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But here are some real blessings she bestowed on people who were in love:

Aphrodite gave Melanion the golden apples with which he conquered Atalanta.

Pygmalion, a sculptor who hated women, made a beautiful statue, so beautiful that he fell in love with his creation. Aphrodite Greek goddess of love gave life to that statue, and they lived happily ever after.

Children:

- with Ares: Phobos, Deimos, Harmonia

- with Hermes: Hermaphroditus (they gave him both their names - surely they had a lot of imagination!)

- with Anchises: Aeneas

Here are some pictures of Aphrodite Greek goddess of love - as you will notice, in art she is often called with the Roman name, Venus.

An ancient painting of Aphrodite:

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Afrodite con Eros
Pompei
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This is one of the most famous paintings:

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The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli
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...and a detail:

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The Birth of Venus (detail)
Sandro Botticelli
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Buy Detail from the Birth of Venus at Art.com
Detail from the Birth of ...
Sandro Botticelli
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... and that's how Andy Warhol saw her:

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Birth of Venus - Red
Andy Warhol
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And here's how others saw the Birth of Venus (ok, Aphrodite):

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La Naissance de Venus (Th...
William Bouguereau
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Buy La Naissance de Venus at Art.com
La Naissance de Venus
Alexandre Cabanel
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Aphrodite with some of her lovers:

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Venus & Adonis
Antonio Canova
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Buy Venus and Mars, about 1485 at Art.com
Venus and Mars, about 1485
Sandro Botticelli
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Venus and Mars
Saraceni
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In this painting, Venus/Aphrodite Greek goddess of love is the central figure (and her little son Cupid is right over her head):

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Primavera
Sandro Botticelli
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Here are some scenes with Aphrodite Greek goddess of love and the Graces...

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Venus and the Graces (Det...
Sandro Botticelli
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or without them...

Buy Venus Reclining on Cloud at Art.com
Venus Reclining on Cloud
Giovanni Battista Cipriani
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Buy The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus) at Art.com
The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus)
Diego Velasquez
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or with her son Eros/Cupid...

Buy Venus Consoling Love at Art.com
Venus Consoling Love
Francois Boucher
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Buy Venus & Cupid at Art.com
Venus & Cupid
Guillaume Seignac
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Buy An Allegory with Venus and Cupid at Art.com
An Allegory with Venus an...
Agnolo Bronzino
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Buy Cupid Complaining to Venus at Art.com
Cupid Complaining to Venus
Lucas Cranach the Elder
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or with her daughter-in-law, Psyche:

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Venus & Psyche
Antonio Canova
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For more pictures of Aphrodite Greek goddess of love / Venus, click here.
For more paintings about the birth of Venus, click here.