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.
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.
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.