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Home > Auctions > 30th November 2021 > Large Roman Statuette of Goddess Venus

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LOT 0064

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,060 - 9,410
USD ($) 7,990 - 10,660

Sold for (Inc. bp): £6,218

Large Roman Statuette of Goddess Venus

2nd-3rd century AD

A substantial bronze figure of Venus Anadyomene (Venus rising from the sea), standing nude, holding one of her braids with her right hand, the raised arm possibly originally held a mirror, curly hair gathered in a chignon at the nape of her neck. 730 grams, 18cm (7"). Very fine condition.

From the collection of a Kensington gentleman; previously in the Weber collection, 1980s; accompanied by an archaeological expertise by Dr. Raffaele D’Amato and a positive metal test from an Oxford specialist; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.10750-177411.

See for the type Reinach, S., Repertoire de la statuarie grecque et romaine, Paris, 1930, pp.175-177; Espérandieu, H. et Rolland, H., Bronzes Antiques de la Seine Maritime, XIIIe Supplement a Gallia, Paris, 1959; cf. similar bronze statuettes in Rolland, H., Bronzes Antiques De Haute Provence, Paris, 1965, items 78-79; Akerraz, A., Touri, A., Habibi, M., Boube-Piccot, C., Il Marocco e Roma, i grandi bronzi del museo di Rabat, Roma, 1992, figs.23-24, in the archaeological museum of Rabat, inv.89.12.3 and inv.vol.145; a similar statuette, dated to 2nd-3rd century AD, was in the Razgrad Museum, in Bulgaria until 1996; another similar example with same date was preserved at Timisoara museum, Romania; a more recent excavated example of 3rd century AD was found in Karanis, Egypt, by the University of Michigan, see Hutchinson, V., in Gazda, E., Guardians of the Nile: sculptures from Karanis in the Fayoum, exhibition catalogue, Kelsey, 1978, no.48, p.40.

The iconography of Venus Anadyomene was one of the most commonly used images of the goddess in classical sculpture, and was still popular during the late Roman Empire. The best example of this is the Louvre Venus Anadyomene (Ma 3537) of the 4th century AD, found in the 19th century at Saint George de la Montagne near Bordeaux, inside a rich aristocratic house and coming from Aphrodisias, ancient place of statuary production for export. Another important ancient example is the Venus Anadyomene of the Rouen Museum (Espérandieu et Rolland, 1959, no.38). The goddess of love and beauty was represented drying herself after being born, fully-grown, from the sea. In Greece, the birth of the goddess was thought to have taken place off the coast of Cyprus. This kind of composition could also be interpreted as Aphrodite emerging from her bath. Such sculptures were popular in gardens as part of water features, but small statuettes were also used as domestic lares.