June 2016

     Botticelli's Birth of Venus, composed for his Florentine patrons, shows an important link between man and his environment in a big way; in a new role, Renaissance man was in control of his own body and health. Related to the content of May's blog,  Canada kicked of the month of June 2016 with a continuing grey issue that plagues countries globally; local wellness shops were raided and charges upon charges were laid upon well meaning citizens who had been going about daily life by assisting those in chronic pain. The tendency to criminalize the botanist approach to human wellness is on the rise due to the many lives overdoses and addictions destroy. For one who has no use for street drugs, it appears these raids aimed to curb unhealthy and unsafe lifestyle habits. But what of the millions who suffer from chronic and prolonged illnesses and pain, and the unhappy fate of people dedicated to serving those in need? It is just as alarming that such a raid should transpire only a few short days before Ottawa's Senate passed a bill permitting a choice to die.

       Understandably, this is an age-old and complex issue that adversely affects the health of youth and adults alike -- substance addiction. But however obsessed today's culture is with ultimate pain relief, the fact remains that centuries ago, there was no such thing as an antibiotic or a flu shot; in 1387, one third of Europe's population was wiped out by the Bubonic Plague.  Almost all medications prescribed by confectioneries and apothecaries were manufactured from natural plants. Botticelli's trance-like scenes highlight a discovery of natural pain remedies in his famous trilogy, back when Europe's everlasting passion began with colony building in New Spain and America.

     The big difference, of course, between drugs then and now was that there were not as many restrictions regulating use because the many adverse side effects were unknown; the line between recreational and medical use was quite broad. The best way to inspire those who wish to provide chronic pain relief is to instruct, demonstrate, and study our world as a natural condition for wellness, no matter how severe the ailment.

     A basic approach in school curriculum for the elementary grades is a consistent practice of data collection: definition, usage, image, and experiment. Based on Botticelli's Birth of Venus, we can see that the most prominent examples of natural surroundings are the rose, cockle shell, laurel and myrtle trees, all which signified love in the Renaissance. The rose pertained to Venus, Goddess of Love, as well as the painting's theme of traditional marriage. One message is obviously that love should heal all wounds.  Some examples of flowers visible in the painting are : centaurea cyanus, cinchona pubescens, petalostigma triculare, orange blossom, and the orange flower. They can all be catalogued, sketched, and studied with respect to type and use in the Renaissance.

                                                                                             ¬©HistoryPLUSArt 2018