The Art of Perfume Ads: Houbigant Chantilly (1945)

chantilly 1945

This one’s an easy one!

I’ve written two previous posts about advertisements for Houbigant’s Chantilly: an ad from the 1960s that borrowed an angel from a Raphael altarpiece, and and ad from the 1990s that was inspired by an Edward Steichen photograph.

This ad for Chantilly “bath tablets” pays homage to one of the most famous works in Western art history, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

Sandro_Botticelli_-_La_nascita_di_Venere_-_Google_Art_Project_-_edited

Chantilly’s Venus is wearing drapery for modesty, and is holding a cluster of flowers, but the unidentified illustrator has kept her contrapposto pose and her seashell base.

The tie-in between effervescent scented bath tablets (also useful as sachets for your lingerie drawer, as the ad informs us!) and the classical goddess of beauty, newly born from the sea, seems just right.

birth of venus new yorker

There have been countless parodies of The Birth of Venus, but I happen to like this New Yorker cover by Susan Davis, which catches the goddess styling her tresses. (This ideal of beauty really hasn’t changed much over the centuries!)

For more posts in this series, click here.

Images: Houbigant Chantilly advertisement via VintageAdBrowser; Botticelli, The Birth of Venus (c. 1486), Uffizi Gallery, Florence, via Wikipedia; Susan Davis for The New Yorker, May 25, 1992, via CartoonBank.

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4 comments

    1. You’re right: there are some really terrible “Venus” ads and other appropriations out there! I think Botticelli would have liked the Houbigant ad and the New Yorker cover, though. ;)

  1. Beautiful ad! I would have bought the bath tablets from the ad alone.

    One thing has changed over the centuries, Venus would not have had those split ends in this era! What a cute ad THAT would make; iconic art pieces then the same piece after using the hair product advertised, with better hair and no split ends…

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