Statuette of Venus

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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 104, Gods and Goddesses

Object Details

Title:

Statuette of Venus

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Greek (Ptolemaic) or Roman

Place(s):

Egypt (?) (Place created)

Date:

1st century B.C.

Medium:

Rock crystal

Dimensions:

8.5 cm (3 3/8 in.)

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With its depiction of Venus, the goddess of love, crouching in her bath, this damaged statuette is a copy of an original large-scale sculpture dating to the 100s B.C., probably by Doidalsas of Bithynia. The goddess crouches low in order to allow an attendant, who is not depicted, to pour water over her. The original statue showed the interest of Hellenistic sculptors in rendering the nude female form.

While the earlier statue does not survive, later copies such as this piece preserve its general appearance. These copies were especially popular in the Roman period, with artists reproducing the original in large numbers in a variety of media and sizes and with slight variations of pose. Roman patrons often commissioned miniature copies of large-scale Greek public art for their private use, decorating their homes with the statuettes. The use of the valuable medium of rock crystal marks this piece as a prestigious luxury item for a rich patron.

Provenance
- 1978

Summa Galleries (Beverly Hills, California), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

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, (Cat.)
Aphrodite and the Gods of Love (March 28, 2012 to May 26, 2013)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 26, 2011 to February 20, 2012, (Cat.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), March 28 to July 9, 2012, (Cat.)
Bibliography

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 19.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Appointment Calendar. Malibu: 1981. week of April 20.

Krug, Antje. "Die Kauernde Aphrodite in Kristall," The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 10 (1982), pp. 145-152. figs. 3-5. Cited as 78.AA.248.

Delivorrias, Angelos, et al. "Aphrodite," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae I (1984), pp. 2-151. p. 106, no. 1039.

Fernandez, I.G. "J. Paul Getty Museum," Revista de Arqueologia 115, Nv (1990), pp. 48-56. p. 53, ill.

Elizabeth Bartman, Ancient Sculptural Copies in Miniature (Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition, 19), Leiden/New York/Cologne, 1992. p. 28.

Padgett, J. Michael. "A Chalcedony Statuette of Herakles," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 54,1 (1995), pp. 3-22 pp. 6 and 12, no 22; fig. 14.

Elizabetta Gagetti, Preziose sculture di eta ellenistica e romana (Il Filarete: Pubblicazioni della Facolta di lettere e filosofia dell'Universita degli Studi di Milano, 240) Milan, 2006. pp. 335-36, no. G31, pl. 46 (as 78.AA.248).