This work ships from New Orleans, LA, US.
“Conceived as a part of Femaissance: Primavera in collaboration with Femaissance co-creator and curator Madeline Rose and photographer Kelsey Campion, and inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera and the muse-worthy women of New Orleans, this original watercolor diptych by Lyla Clayre is an homage to the flourishing of female creativity and community.”
Looking back to Sandro Botticelli’s work throughout the Early Italian Renaissance, we see that the era is rooted in the celebration of personal achievement and hard work. Botticelli’s masterpiece Primavera was fundamental to Renaissance thought with focus on humanism, which is “an emphasis on education and on expanding knowledge (especially of classical antiquity), the exploration of individual potential and a desire to excel, and a commitment to civic responsibility and moral duty.” Primavera focuses on Botticelli’s own pagan muses, accentuating the celestial beauty of Venus and the Three Graces among a darkened yet bountiful forest of the Hesperides. In this legendary forest was a tree that bore golden apples that was guarded by female divinity. The ethos of this painting was legendary to its time, but it is not fitting for today’s definition of “muse-worthy”. While humanism is the commemoration of accomplishments, he is only illustrating the physical allure of the figures rather than their duty to the fruit and personal achievements.
The Garden of Hesperides is a redirection of Primavera as the focus switches from simply physical beauty to the accomplishments of women who have shaped New Orleans’ own post- Katrina Renaissance. Just as Botticelli painted his piece in the peak time of Renaissance thought, Campion and Clayre use their work to celebrate the unique businesses and characteristics that rebirthed this city. The scenery of the piece itself illustrates the notion of what it means to be muse-worthy. The lushness from the blooming jasmine to the (other plant) creates a vibrant and festive aura within the city, further highlighting the peak point of Renaissance mindset here in New Orleans. Moreover, The humanistic symbolism behind these muses showcases how each individual’s talent and hard work have programmed the identity of New Orleans. The result of both Kelsey Campion and Lyla Clayre’s adaptation of Primavera is a direct impression of this particular celebratory moment of collaboration between the female contributors that made this project possible. With Oleander on Royal gallery director Jamie Lehr as Venus, she is surrounded by fellow muses: folk singer Adrienne Edson, Chef Martha Wiggins, Songbird of New Orleans Robin Barnes, Marketing Director of Grow on Urban Farms Lauren Marie Reyes, Erin Romney of Romney Studios, Executive Director of NOLA Wine & Food Experience Aimee Brown, and choreographer Maya Alexis. These are women who are both accomplishing their goals and doing good for the community. This is the modern age of muses.
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