Statue of Venus (the Mazarin Venus)

Object Details

Title:

Statue of Venus (the Mazarin Venus)

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place(s):

Roman Empire (Place created)

Rome, Italy (Place found)

Date:

2nd century

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

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' 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. In 1509 it was discovered in Rome, 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. The head probably belonged 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.

Provenance

Nicolas Beaujon, French, 1718 - 1786 (L'hotel d'Evreux, Paris, France)

about 1855 - 1901

Sir Francis Cook, First Viscount of Montserrat, English, 1817-1901 (Doughty House, Surrey, England), by inheritance to his son, Sir Frederick Lucas Cook, 1901.

1901 - 1920

Sir Frederick Lucas Cook, Second Viscount of Montserrat, English, 1844-1920 (Doughty House, Surrey, England), by inheritance to his son, Sir Herbert Cook, 1920.

1920 - 1939

Sir Herbert Frederick Cook, Third Viscount of Montserrat, English, 1868-1939 (Doughty House, Surrey, England), 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 (Doughty House, Surrey, England), sold to Spink & Son, probably 1947.

probably 1947 - about 1948

Spink & Son, Ltd. (London, England), sold to a French private collection, about 1948.

about 1948 -

Private Collection (France)

- 1954

Nicolas Koutoulakis (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1954.

Exhibitions
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
Bibliography

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Michaelis, Adolf Theodor Friedrich. Ancient Marbles in Great Britain. 1882. pp. 620-622, no. 2.

Arndt, Paul, and Walter Amelung. Photographische Einzelaufnahmen antiker Skulpturen. Munich: 1893-1940. no. 4939.

Reinach, Salomon. Repertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine. Paris: 1897-1930. Vol. IV, p. 202, no. 5.

Strong, Eugenie. "Antiques in the Collection of Sir Frederick Cook, Bart.," Journal of Hellenic Studies 28 (1908), pp. 1-45. p. 11, no. 11.

Hekler, Antonio. "Monumenti funerari greci in Copenhagen," Ausonia V (1911), pp. 1-12. p. 6, note 2.

Waldhauer, O. Die antiken Skulpturen der Ermitage. Berlin: 1936. III, p. 12, under no. 230.

Reimann, Hans. Kerameikos II. Die Skulpturen vom 5.Jahrhundert bis in roemische Zeit. Berlin: 1940. p. 121, Type III, Variant I 2.

Hind, Arthur M. Early Italian Engraving: A Critical Catalogue with Complete Reproduction of all the Prints Described, Part II, Vol. V. (London: Bernard Quaritch Ltd., 1948) p. 41 no. 14, pl. 536

Muthmann, Fritz. Statuenstuetzen und dekoratives Beiwerk an griechischen und roemischen Bildwerken. Heidelberg: 1951. p. 99.

Picard, Charles. Manuel d'archeologie grecque. La sculpture IV. Paris: 1954-1963. Fasc. 2, p. 1044; fig. 415.

Vermeule, Cornelius C. "Notes on a New Edition of Michaelis: Ancient Marbles in Great Britain," American Journal of Archaeology 59 (1955), pp. 129-150. p. 134, no. 11.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. Los Angeles: 1956. p. 12, no. 3.

Parker, K. T. Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford: 1956. Vol. II, no. 626.

Davenport, William, and the Sunset Editors. Art Treasures in the West (Menlo Park: Lane Magazine & Book Co., 1966), p. 39; ill. p. 38.

Vermeule, Cornelius, and Norman Neuerberg. Catalogue of the Ancient Art in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu: 1973.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 83.

Delivorrias, Angelos, et al. "Aphrodite," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae I (1984), pp. 2-151. p. 84, no. 756.

Bober, Phyllis Pray, and Ruth Rubinstein, with contributions by Susan Woodford. Renaissance Artists & Antique Sculpture. A Handbook of Souces. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. p. 61, no. 15.

Margolis, S., and W. Showers. "Ancient Greek and Roman Marble Sculpture: Authentication, Weathering, and Provenance Determination," Marble. Art Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Ancient Sculpture. Malibu: 1990. pp. 283-299. p. 286, Table 1, no. 4. wrongly cited as 84.AA.11.

Danziger, Elon. "The Cook collection, its founder and its inheritors." Burlington Magazine vol. CXLVI, no. 1216 (July 2004) pp. 444-458, p. 445, 453 fig. 10

Clark, David Lang. "Raphael's Fornarina: Venus Pudica or Venus Aphrodisia?" In Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 74 no. 4 (2005) pp. 225-226, 228-229

Colantuono, Anthony. Titian, Colonna and the Renaissance Science of Procreation (London: Ashgate Publishing, 2010), p.ix, pl.4.3.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 164.

Di Mauro, Alberto. Italian Art in Los Angeles... Educational brochure. Release date was set for November 2011; more information to come?