Statue of Venus Genetrix

Object Details

Title:

Statue of Venus Genetrix

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Date:

2nd century

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

97.7 x 30.5 x 31.7 cm (38 7/16 x 12 x 12 1/2 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Venus, the goddess of love, stands clothed in a sheer, clinging garment that leaves one breast bare and emphasizes her body underneath, especially her genitalia. The depiction of the goddess in this pose and garment, known as the Venus Genetrix type, is known in numerous Roman replicas. The multiple versions of this statue have led scholars to conclude that it reproduces a now-lost Greek statue that must have been very famous in antiquity. The style of the clinging, almost wet-looking garment dates the original Greek statue to the years around 410 B.C.

Judging from the form of the base, this Roman statue was made in the 100s A.D. It probably decorated a private villa. The less carefully worked back of the figure suggests that it was originally displayed in a niche.

Provenance
by 1752 - 1783

Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown, Irish, 1711 (?) - 1783 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to his eldest son, Joseph Leeson, 1783.

1783 - 1801

Joseph Leeson, 2nd Earl of Milltown, Irish, 1730 - 1801 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to his younger brother, Brice Leeson, 1801.

1801 - 1807

Brice Leeson, 3rd Earl of Milltown, Irish, 1735 - 1807 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to his grandson, Joseph Leeson, 1807.

1807 - 1866

Joseph Leeson, 4th Earl of Milltown, Irish, 1799 - 1866 (Russborough House), by inheritance to his eldest son, Joseph Henry Leeson.

1866 - 1871

Joseph Henry Leeson, 5th Earl of Milltown, Irish, 1829 - 1871 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to his younger brother, Edward Nugent Leeson, 1871.

1871 - 1890

Edward Nugent Leeson, 6th Earl of Milltown, Irish, 1835 - 1890 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to his nephew, Edmund Russborough Turton, 1890.

1890

Sir Edmund Russborough Turton, 1857-1929 (Russborough House, Ireland), sold (?) to his aunt, Lady Geraldine Evelyn Stanthorpe, wife of the 6th Earl of Milltown, 1890.

1890 - 1914

Geraldine Evelyn (Stanhope) Leeson, 6th Countess of Milltown, Irish, 1841 - 1914 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to her nephew, Sir Edmund Russborough Turton, 1914.

1914 - 1929

Leeson Family, Heirs of Geraldine Evelyn (Stanhope) Leeson

1914-1929

Sir Edmund Russborough Turton, 1857-1929 (Russborough House, Ireland), by inheritance to his wife, Lady Turton, 1929.

1929-1931

Clementina Ponsonby Fane, Lady Turton, 1859-1934 (Russborough House, Ireland), sold (as part of Russborough House), to Captain Daly, 1931.

1931 - 1952

Captain Denis Daly, Irish, 1894-1970 (Russborough House, Ireland), buried on the grounds, 1930s (Russborough House was sold to Sir Alfred Beit in 1952).

by 1986

Patrick Teevans, Irish

and Lieutenant-Colonel Michael O'Shea, Irish (exhumed and sold at auction) [sold, Sculpture and Works of Art, Phillips, Son & Neale, London, November 18, 1986, lot 117.]

- 1987

McAlpine Ancient Art (Hampshire, England), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1987.

1987 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman

and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995) (182)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999) (182)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004) (182)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (March 28, 2012 to May 26, 2013) (182)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 26, 2011 to February 20, 2012
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), March 28 to July 9, 2012
Bibliography

Phillips, Fine Art Auctioneers, London. Sale cat., November 18, 1986. lot no. 117.

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1994. pp. 346-49, cat. no. 182.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust, 1997-1998. p. 63.

Mulvin, Lynda. "The Roman sculptures at Russborough House." In Lord Charlemont and his Circle. Michael McCarthy, ed. (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001) 173.

O'Boyle, Aidan. "The Milltown Collection: reconstructing an eighteenth-century picture-hang." Irish Architectural and Decorative Studies 13 (2010) 38.

Laffan, William and Kevin V. Mulligan. Russborough: A Great Irish House, its Families and Collections (Russborough: Alfred Beit Foundation, 2014), p. 117, fig. 136; p. 120