Aphrodite “Venus Genetrix”

103 cm (40 and 1/2 inches) high


Aphrodite was the ultimate icon of feminine beauty and love in ancient Rome. Born from the foam of the sea, she was considered the most attractive woman in the world and said to inspire lust in all manner of man and nature. She is thought by some scholars to be the first figure shown in the nude in Western art history.

In this depiction, her polished torso is enrobed in a wet and clinging chiton, one breast exposed. The fabric hangs in long, deeply carved folds from her left arm and down her back. The figure is posed in the “Venus Genetrix” tableaux in which the goddess reaches behind her shoulder to raise a mantle over her head, while holding an apple in her other hand. The body is positioned halfway between standing and walking, demonstrating the sensuous curves of a contrapposto figure.

Three significant fractures exist: one encircling the mound of the left breast, one running the length from the left side of the neck down to the bicep of the left arm, and the smallest on the front of the right shoulder.