Poor Man’s Acid

Venus and Mars - Botticelli

Venus and Mars - Botticelli

To the art world it’s a moment similar to when you first realised the Magic Roundabout was all about a bunch of stoner hippies (just what was in those sugar cubes, Dougal?). Art historian David Bellingham has claimed that one of history’s most revered masterpieces, Botticelli’s Venus and Mars may not really have been a scene of uplifting godly piety and pure Christian-compatible romantic love – but more the scene of a comedown after an all out mind-bending blowout on drugs.

detail

detail


It seems that all previous scholars who have studied the painting have ignored a small plant depicted in one corner, probably more interested in the devilish imp figure pictured resting his hand on it. New research suggests that the plant in question is likely datura stramonium – a narcotic known for centuries and more recently called ‘poor man’s acid’.

Bellingham claims it has effects similar to ‘opium mixed with alcohol’, causing hallucinations, thirst and and even ‘speedy chattering’. As a datura high is wearing off, the user eventually ‘swoons and falls asleep’ – much like Botticelli’s Mars. Other minor details also point to the psychedelic interpretation. Far out.

Critics trying to deny this will line up alongside those who still believe that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about a child’s painting …

Originally posted by SchNEWS.

Is this what is meant by ‘high culture’?

Also see

High Art: Were Botticelli’s Venus And Mars Stoned?

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