The Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, known to the Romans as Venus, was born from the sea, a fact alluded to by the support in the form of a dolphin beside her leg. Her connection with Cyrene, a city in North Africa, is a statue of similar type found there in 1913 and now on display in the Museo Nazionale delle Terme in Rome. That statue was the first of this type discovered and thus has given its name to similar statues discovered later.
The gesture of Aphrodite’s now-missing arms has been surmised. Her right arm was bent at the elbow with the right hand held up to a strand of hair falling to her breast; a trace of hair may still be seen. Her left arm was also probably bent at the elbow to hold a lock that fell from just behind the left ear. Fixing her hair is an appropriate gesture for the goddess as she rises from the sea. Many examples of this type of Aphrodite, known by the Greek term Anadyomene, are still extant, attesting to the popularity of the goddess throughout Classical antiquity.
tags: proportion, balance, mythology, Ancient Rome, identity, change, communication, meaning
Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)