Aphrodite's Shell

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482 - 1486, tempera on canvas

When you're in the throes of art school, everyone is constantly pinning you in a corner and asking, "Who's your favorite artist?" Most often I produced a sheepish grin and a "gee, I don't know, there are so many to like." BOOOOOOOORING! At this point I would turn the conversation to something a tad bit more interesting like "hey, did you know they're offering Coney Island hot dogs half price at the student union, let's boogie sister!" 

I think this was my way of keeping my dirty, little secret all to myself. Well, here it is revealed for all to see. Surprise! Imagine that,  but I'm no original, cutting edge artist that stays up late drinking double espressos and contemplating the dark underpinnings of the world. I no longer have yearnings to smear honey on my face and call it art, but rather I quietly devour the work of Sandro Botticelli just like millions of other humdrum souls who consume his amazing paintings through the genius of mass media.

The Birth of Venus is my all time fav, and if you ever catch a travel bug that lands you in Florence, Italy, don't let all the delicious wine and la dolce vita distract you, hot foot it over to the Uffizi Gallery for the most captivating paintings you'll ever see.

At Hint Jewelry, I created this miniature shell charm, a small token to help me remember the beauty of this painting and her story of love and radiance that is like thin, silk veil covering our world.

Aphrodite's Shell, Beth Hemmila, fine silver

Oh, and another thing, sorry to all the Italian enthusiasts, but I've got a serious soft spot for Greeks. I can't help but be enamored with their raucous behavior and intense zest for life so I had to call this keepsake Aphrodite's Shell (the Greek's fancy way of saying Venus). 


  1. She is so incredibly beautiful! I've had the good fortune of being able to see the Birth of Venus first hand in Florence. It was so amazing to see this lovely, lovely creation up close. I have to say that it was a pretty easy birth. There was a little pushing but then after that everything went smoothly. ;) You know how tourists can get a little pushy in those lines. Anyway, what a stunning painting and a lovely tribute to this painting by way of your amazing Aphrodite pendant creation. I don't mind that you want to pay homage to the greek version of this Goddess.

  2. Hey, I tried to edit my post and blogger forced me to finish and post it the way it was. I couldn't go back and make any changes. What the hey?

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I think it's great that you paid homage to the Greek version of this beautiful Goddess, but I don't know who has more zest for life, the Greeks or the Italians.

    I once went to a Greek/Italian wedding and it was a pretty wild time. I have to say that both sides of the family seemed to be equally zesty and full of life! I got to party with the Greeks and the Romans. What an interesting mix! ;)

    Well anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm so glad that you did, as it brought me here to you. I really enjoyed my visit!! I'll be back to take in more of your fun and zesty posts!

    Take care,
    Debbie Egizio

  3. I love the way your jewelry pieces have a story behind them - it makes each one even more meaningful. Very beautiful! I'm totally in love with your Etsy shop :).

  4. oh,what a genuine soul you are.
    when are we going to italy? I can have my bags packed, like, right now =)

  5. Great post! lol I love this painting as well.
    And I'm Greek!

  6. Hi Beth!

    One of my favorites! I studied his painting style in art school and was always amazed with his technique. When I finally got to see them in person, it was a beautiful moment, the gallery was almost empty, just my sister and I standing in awe, as the afternoon sun lit up the room as the painting glowed before us. I was absolutely struck by the beauty, my heart ached and eyes burned. I can't say I've ever been as moved by a painting before or since.

    I think Botticelli is timeless and his work seems infused with the love of beauty. How many contemporary artists exude those qualities? Maybe Kiki Smith, Lee Bontecou or Andy Goldsworthy...but in there own way, not with as much splendor....
    Yeah, I love Botticelli with all my heart!

    Love the shell, by the way!

  7. I love the story behind this.. I love that you share the inspiration behind your work.. it comes alive with it! And, I really really love this piece.


  8. Oh, how I would love to see The Birth of Venus in person! I haven't been to Florence, but when I was in London and Paris in 1987 (oh, how long ago that was), it brought tears to my eyes when I saw so many of the paintings I had studied in school!

  9. you MUST go to Florence!!! You would just swoon every day. I think this ranks as my top city to return to :) The light is magnificent and the architecture blows your mind away. When you see a Giotto close up, it all starts to make sense...

  10. Back when I first started VisionWise... I made magnets off my computer... and I have a few extra... one being this painting... I'll send it to you before I leave on my trip :)
    I want you to have it.

  11. Fun, Lauren! I look forward to putting her on my fridge :)


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