Statuette of Venus

Object Details


Statuette of Venus






Roman Empire (Place created)


2nd - 3rd century A.D.




19.2 × 8.5 × 5.4 cm (7 9/16 × 3 3/8 × 2 1/8 in.)

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Romans kept small statues of gods as part of household shrines. In wealthy homes, such statuettes were often carved in precious materials--gold, silver, or ivory. This silver statuette depicts a goddess leaning against a short column. Her extended left hand probably once held a phiale or shallow bowl, and her raised right hand a scepter or staff. A diadem adorns her head and a bracelet encircles her upper arm. The way in which her garment falls off her shoulder indicates that this statuette represents Venus, the goddess of love.

Depictions of Venus fully clothed with her dress slipping off one shoulder and leaning on a support began in large-scale Greek statues meant for public display in the 400s B.C. The type remained popular throughout Greek and Roman art and, as seen here, was often translated into miniaturized statuette form for household use.

Related Works
1865 - 1901

Louis de Clercq, French, 1836 - 1901

by 1974 - 1976

Mathias Komor (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976.

Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (March 28, 2012 to May 26, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), March 28 to July 9, 2012

de Clercq, M. Louis, Joachim Menant, and Andre de Ridder. Collection de Clercq: Catalogue methodique et raisonne (Paris: 1888-1911), Vol. III, Les Bronzes (1905). no. 103.

Vermeule, Cornelius. Greek and Roman Sculpture in Gold and Silver. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1974), pp. 25-26, no. 80, ill.

Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Pamphlet 3. Conservation of Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, May-July 1978), no. 33.

Sofroniew, Alexandra. Household Gods: Private Devotion in Ancient Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. 76-7, fig. 39.