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The Art of Atlante

sarah baker perfumes, 'atlante' by perfumer sarah mccartney, the art of atlante

Born of the Sea

With its notes of seaweed, seashells, driftwood, wet rocks and ambergris, our Atlante extrait de parfum is not so much an “aquatic” as utterly marine.

Atlante is a lovely, fresh fragrance in which notes such as yuzu, iris, lily of the valley, pink pepper and cedar provide the perfect balance and counterpoints to the various notes directly evoking the sea.

But, the stories of the seas and the oceans that inspired Atlante were a little more specific. Initially it started as a musing on the work of pioneering women filmmakers such as Germaine Dulac and Maya Deren, thinking about the ways images of the sea are used in their films.

"I spray it on and immediately the feelgood waves arrive. It makes me instantly happy. I go straight into a positive headspace.”

Thinking about it further, we were very conscious of how the stories told by these 20th-century filmmakers hark back to much older legends, to primordial creation myths. And, for us, above all else, Atlante is about the myth of the birth of Venus (or more accurately Aphrodite because the Romans adopted it from the much older Greek tale).

Venus, the goddess of love, was said to have been born from the churning sea. There is something very apt about this in relation to Atlante. There is a smooth wildness to this fragrance, like waves crashing against rocks. But there is also something entirely evocative of love about it.

Amor, Amore!

One of our customers who is a fan of Atlante says that one of the things he adores about it is that it’s almost like “ antidepressant as a fragrance. I spray it on and immediately the feelgood waves arrive. It makes me instantly happy. I go straight into a positive headspace.”

This got us thinking about how much, in fact, this is like love, how suddenly you can find yourself feeling content, positive or carefree without any specific reason, high on all those complex chemicals the brain releases when you’re in love. Does Altante have some mystical powers that do the same for our customer? We have no idea. But we’re happy to go with the flow.

Picturing Atlante

When creating our campaign image for this bestseller, we were led by this notion of unexplained feelgood positivity, inevitably filtered through an artist’s view of the world, and immediately thought of Botticelli’s famous painting of the birth of Venus.

Sandro Botticelli’s iconic painting was completed in the mid-1480s, a commission for the illustrious Medici, the ultimate Renaissance powerbrokers. Today it hangs in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, a fitting home given that this building was also commissioned by the Medici. Today practically the whole world knows it as ‘The Birth of Venus’, but this isn’t actually its title—it’s ‘Venus Anadyomene’, a nod to a famed painting commissioned by Alexander the Great, long since lost. It seems likely to have become known by its popular name after Giorgio Vasari, architect of the Uffizi, described its subject matter in a document and the more literal title stuck.

For us, It wasn’t just the subject matter that was so compelling, it was the Renaissance itself, that period in history when Italy’s artists and thinkers were the first to embrace a new lust for life in all forms of human expression, quite literally a “rebirth”. Considered the period when Europe transitioned from the Middle Ages to Early Modernity, one of the notable features of art of the period was looking back to Ancient Roman and Greek culture for inspiration. This is quite obviously the case in Botticelli’s renowned painting, for example.

A key aspect of the Renaissance mindset was a move away from the fearful and doom-laden recent past, looking towards an optimistic future. Perhaps that was even something of a subconscious connection we made too. A feature of Renaissance art was to celebrate the joyous possibilities of being alive, of being able to enjoy the pleasures of love, delicious food or the beauty of nature. This is why we wanted our Atlante homage to Boticelli to include even small details from the painting, such as the delicate flowers falling through the air.

sarah baker perfumes 'Venus Anadyomene' by Sandro Botticelli

In our scented tale, Atlante is cast in the role of Venus, born, fully formed, from the sea. Spritz it on and we’re sure you’ll be able to sense why that image sprung to mind and, indeed, why it is one of our bestselling extraits.


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