Unknown artist, Greek
Aphrodite, 2nd century BCE
Height: 47.3 cm (18 5/8 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund and Special Gift Fund 26.117
This bronze figure of Aphrodite, now green from oxidation, once would have been a warm brown. To heighten a sense of naturalism, the eyes and hair ribbon were inlaid with silver and the lips with copper. The left arm, reconstructed from the shoulders down, now shows her holding an apple; it was originally upraised like her right, to adjust a necklace, now missing. The right foot and ankle have also been replaced. These restorations date to the early 19th century.
In the 4th century BCE, the first nude image of Aphrodite was sculpted, breaking a long tradition of depicting Greek goddesses clothed. It was fitting, however, that the goddess of love and beauty was the first to be portrayed in this new way. The motif became so popular that hundreds of such images of Aphrodite survive from ancient Greece and Rome, where they adorned homes, gardens, and sanctuaries. Exceedingly rare today, bronze examples like this one must have been prized possessions of wealthy patrons.
Edited ByWoolsey, Ann, ed.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008
TypeMonographs and CollectionsClassical Bronzes
Contributions byMitten, David Gordon
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design., 1975
TypeMonographs and CollectionsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections