Aphrodite of Melos (Venus de Milo)

Hellenistic

replica: from the Louvre, Paris

date of the original: c. 2nd century BC 

provenance of the original: found in AD 1820 on the island of Melos and given to Louis XVIII who presented it to the Louvre in AD 1821, where it remains today

description: Figure of Aphrodite semi-draped. Both arms missing below the shoulder. Original had metal earrings. Plaster replica; original in two blocks of Parian marble which meet just above the drapery. Height 215 cm, width 59 cm, depth 60 cm.

This is probably a second century BC refined version of the Aphrodite of Cnidos ancestress. The more stocky Venus de Milo, as she is better known, like the Aphrodite Anadyomene, is considerably more articulate. Her lifted left leg, withholding the slipping drapery, suggests at the same time an energetic movement to secure balance. It energizes the whole attitude and enhances the grace of the daintier body.

A direct comparison of the Cnidos version with the Melos version shows how much more subtle the latter is in all details and makes clear the degree of refinement achieved by Hellenistic art--of which she is an eminent representative.

(See also: Crouching AphroditeAphrodite of Arles.)