Beautifully balanced, this 1st/2nd century Roman Torso of Venus is influenced by the original and most celebrated depiction of the female form from antiquity, The Aphrodite of Knidos. Created by Praxiteles of Athens around the 4th century B.C., it presented the female nude in the form of the goddess of love as an alternative to male heroic nudity. It is widely agreed that this was the first life-sized depiction of the female nude throughout the ancient Greek world.
Though Praxiteles’ masterwork does not survive to the present day, many Roman copies and variants survive of this influential piece. The original depicted Venus Aphrodite reaching for a bath towel while covering her pubis, in turn leaving her breasts exposed. Conversely the arm positioning of the present example suggests that in its full form the right arm would have been bent at the elbow, the hand raised to cover the breasts. A similar pose can be seen in the Venus Medici, a Hellenistic sculpture in the Praxitelean tradition dating to the 1st century B.C. and now housed in the Uffizi (inv 1914 no. 224).
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