Callipygian Venus

£80,000

Carrara Marble

19th Century

Italian

After the Antique (Archaeological Museum, Naples)

Height 163cm 64in
Base 49 x 38cm

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Description

The Callipygian Venus, also known as the Aphrodite Kallipygos or the Callipygian Venus, all literally meaning “Venus of the beautiful buttocks”, is an Ancient Roman marble statue, thought to be a copy of an older Greek original. In an example of anasyrma, it depicts a partially draped woman, raising her light peplos to uncover her hips and buttocks, and looking back and down over her shoulder, perhaps to evaluate them. The subject is conventionally identified as Venus, though it may equally be a portrait of a mortal woman.

The marble statue extant today dates to the late 1st century B.C. The lost Greek original on which it is based is thought to have been bronze, and to have been executed around 300 B.C., towards the beginning of the Hellenistic era. The provenance of the marble copy is unknown, but it was rediscovered, missing its head, in the early modern era. The head was restored, first in the 16th century and again in the 18th century (in which case the sculptor followed the earlier restoration fairly closely); the restored head was made to look over the shoulder, drawing further attention to the statue’s bare buttocks, thereby contributing to its popularity. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the statue was identified as Venus and associated with a temple to Aphrodite Kallipygos at Syracuse, discussed by Athenaeus in his Deipnosophists.

The statue was copied a number of times, including by Jean-Jacques Clérion, François Barois and by multiple anonymous sculptors, like this statue.

Callipygian Venus, Archaeological Museum, Naples

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SKU: 22121 Category: Tag:

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