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Home > Auctions > 7th September 2021 > Large Roman Statuette of Goddess Venus

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LOT 0087

GBP (£) 30,000 - 40,000
EUR (€) 35,260 - 47,010
USD ($) 41,810 - 55,740

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£22,950 (EUR 26,971; USD 31,983) (+bp*)

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Large Roman Statuette of Goddess Venus

2nd-4th century AD

A substantial bronze statuette of Venus Pudica of the Medici type, standing nude with her head slightly lowered and surmounted by a thick diadem, the hair divided into two and gathered in a chignon at the nape of the neck; face finely worked with detailed eyes; right arm raised and covering her breasts, left hand open in an attempt to cover her pubic area; the weight of the body on her left leg with the right leg slightly bent and the heel raised; mounted on a custom-made display stand. 770 grams total, 23cm including stand (9"). Very fine condition.

From the collection of a Kensington gentleman; previously in the Weber collection, 1980s; accompanied by an academic report by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10738-177415.

See for a similar Roman statuette Reinach, S., Repertoire de la statuarie grecque et romaine, Paris, 1930, p.804; for the the Venus Pudica see Bianchi Bandinelli, R., Paribeni, E., L'arte dell'antichità classica. Grecia, Torino, 1986; for the Venus de Medici see Mansuelli, G., Galleria degli Uffizi: Le Sculture, (Rome) 2 vols, 1958–61, vol.I, pp.71–73.

The Aphrodite or Venus Pudica was a famous representation of the love goddess, naked or half-naked, covering her pubic area and / or breasts with her arms. The nude prototype of this female figure, created by the Athenian Praxiteles and adopted by the Romans, was the famous Aphrodite of Knidos who, interrupted before immersing herself in the bath, grabbed a cloth and covered her private parts with her left hand, caught in a natural gesture humanising the goddess. The theme developed during the Hellenistic period. From a bronze original Greek sculpture following the type of Knidos, a sculptor now known as Cleomenes of Apollodorus (a possible pseudonym) sculpted the famous Venus de’Medici in the 1st century BC, the older prototype of the famous copies like the Venus Capitoline, the Venus of the Metropolitan and the thousand other copies from the Roman world. Many small bronzes like our statuette were produced to be used for domestic or votive cult practices. Beloved in Roman times, the theme of Venus Pudica was then taken up by artists from the Renaissance period onwards: the oldest tribute in sculpture is that of Giovanni Pisano in the figure of Temperance in the Pulpit of the Cathedral of Pisa (1310), while in paintings it is that of the Eva di Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel.