Statue of Venus (the Mazarin Venus)

Object Details


Statue of Venus (the Mazarin Venus)






Roman Empire (Place created)
Rome, Italy (Place found)


2nd century A.D.



Object Number:



184 cm (72 7/16 in.)

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Venus, the goddess of love, stands nude, grasping a piece of cloth around her hips. The dolphin at her feet supports the figure and alludes to the goddess's birth from the sea. This depiction of Venus ultimately derived from an extremely popular Greek statue created by the sculptor Praxiteles about 350 B.C. Indeed Praxiteles's statue was so popular that, beginning around 100 B.C., many artists created variations on his theme of the naked Venus.

This statue is a Roman reproduction of one of those Hellenistic variants. It was discovered in Rome around 1510, where it contributed to the Renaissance revival of the Classical tradition. Scholars once believed that this statue was owned by Cardinal Mazarin, advisor to Louis XIV, king of France. Although this is unlikely, the statue is still known to many as the Mazarin Venus.

During its long history, the statue has been heavily damaged. The breasts, as well as parts of the cloth, arms, and dolphin, are restored, and the head may belong to another ancient statue. Marks on the back of the statue have been interpreted as gunshot wounds suffered during the French Revolution, although this story may be based more in romance than in fact.

about 1510

Found: Rome, Italy

- 1786

Nicolas Beaujon, French, 1718 - 1786

about 1855 - 1901

Sir Francis Cook, first viscount of Montserrat, English, 1817 - 1901, by inheritance to his son, Sir Frederick Lucas Cook, 1901.

1901 - 1920

Sir Frederick Lucas Cook, second viscount of Montserrat, English, 1844 - 1920, by inheritance to his son, Sir Herbert Frederick Cook, 1920.

1920 - 1939

Sir Herbert Frederick Cook, third viscount of Montserrat, English, 1868-1939, by inheritance to his son, Sir Francis Ferdinand Maurice Cook, 1939.

1939 - probably 1947

Sir Francis Ferdinand Maurice Cook, fourth viscount of Monserrat, English, 1907-1978, sold to Spink & Son, Ltd., probably 1947.

probably 1947 - about 1948

Spink & Son, Ltd., sold to a French private collection, about 1948.

about 1948 -

Private Collection

- 1954

Nicolas Koutoulakis, 1910 - 1996, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1954.

Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • 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)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Classical Connections: The Enduring Influence of Greek and Roman Art (December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008
Collector's Choice: J. Paul Getty and His Antiquities (November 18, 2009 to February 8, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), November 18, 2009 to February 8, 2010

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