Botticelli's Mars Is on Acid

The sartyr next to him has a suspicious plant
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2010 2:23 PM CDT
A closer view of the sartyr in the bottom right. He's got his hand on suspicious fruit.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – There's a reason Mars looks so out of it in Botticelli's classic painting Venus and Mars. A sharp-eyed art historian tells NPR that he's on what's known as "poor man's acid." Check out the sartyr in the bottom right (the one who's sort of sticking his tongue out at you). He's got his hand on a fruit that David Bellingham (with the help of botanists) says is from the datura plant.

"Basically, it produces similar experiences to LSD," says Bellingham, who seems to have been the first to notice the connection. "It's been likened to the effects of opium mixed with alcohol. It can produce a great deal of thirst, hallucinations." And when the effects are wearing off, the user "swoons and falls asleep." Hello, Mars.

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