Roman Imperial Period

Statue of Aphrodite

2nd Century A.D.


Museum purchase with funds donated by The Stuart Society


In the 4th century A.D., the Greek artist Praxiteles shocked the art world by creating two virtually identical images of the goddess Aphrodite: one was draped, the other nude. The nude version was acquired by the City of Knidos and became such a famous image that it inspired many copies and variations, as in this Roman example, albeit a fragment, with its missing head and limbs.

Here, the drapery is designed so that the figure’s lower abdomen and left thigh are exposed. It is done in such a way that the spectator is invited to move to the back of the statue where that same drapery exposes the goddess’s buttocks. Thus, the nude’s sensual features are shown to best advantage.

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