Ancient Roman Bronze Figure of Venus, Imperial Period, Circa 1st-2nd Century AD
A stunning leaded bronze figure of Venus (Greek Aphrodite), the goddess of love and beauty, resembling Praxiteles Aphrodite of Knidos, enveloped in a verdant green patina. Crowned by a crescent-shaped diadem, the gorgeous deity stands in contrapposto with her right leg bent at the knee and her weight gracefully shifted. Her left arm gently bends as her hand grazes her body, hovering over her sex, perhaps a gesture of modesty like the Venus Pudica, and her right hand extends out from her body in a welcoming pose. The goddess turns her head ever-so-slightly toward her right, her tranquil visage displaying naturalistic features framed by a rolled back coiffure resolving in a chignon, while soft tendrils grace her shoulders.
A breathtaking representation of the goddess who possessed such sublime beauty that she inspired much rivalry among the gods, all of whom wished to make her his wife. According to classical mythology, Jupiter (Zeus) determined that Venus (Aphrodite) would marry Vulcan (Hephaestus), the handicapped blacksmith god. Vulcan in turn created a magical girdle to guarantee her fidelity. Unfortunately for him, the Goddess of Love and Beauty proved unfaithful. Venus (Aphrodite) has inspired countless representations in visual culture, among the most famous, Attic sculptor Praxiteles’ “Aphrodite of Knidos” (ca. 360 to 330 BCE) and Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” (1484-86).