The J. Paul Getty Museum

Statuette of Venus

Object Details


Statuette of Venus






1st century B.C.


Rock crystal

Object Number:



8.5 × 4 × 6 cm (3 3/8 × 1 9/16 × 2 3/8 in.)

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Object Description

Venus, the goddess of love, crouches low as she washes herself.  With her right knee on the ground and her left sharply flexed, she turns her upper body and appears to raise her right arm. The dynamic movement not only reveals the goddess’s voluptuous sensuality, but also encourages the viewer to rotate the figurine in order to appreciate it fully. Held in the hand, it would have taken on the appearance of human flesh.

The statuette is a miniature variant of an original sculpture that is most commonly dated to the mid-to-late third century BC.  Copies and replicas 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 (compare 55.AA.10). 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 particular piece as a prestigious luxury item for a rich patron.

by 1975 -

Galerie Uraeus (Paris, France)

- 1978

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

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
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
Portable Classic (May 9 to September 13, 2015)
  • Cà Corner della Regina (Venice), May 9 to September 13, 2015
Picasso and Rivera: Conversations across Time (December 4, 2016 to September 10, 2017)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), December 4, 2016 to May 7, 2017
  • Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), June 7 to September 10, 2017
Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today (October 12, 2019 to January 6, 2020)
  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville), October 12, 2019 to January 6, 2020

"Notable Works of Art Now on the Market." Burlington Magazine 117, no. 867 (June 1975), pl. IV, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), pp. 27-28, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), p. 19.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Appointment Calendar (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 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 1 (1984), p. 106, no. 1039.

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

Bartman, Elizabeth. Ancient Sculptural Copies in Miniature. Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition, vol. 19. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 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.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 94, ill.

Spivey, Nigel and Squire, Michael. Panorama of the Classical World (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2004), p. 85, fig. 85.

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

Settis, Salvatore, Anna Anguissola, and Davide Gasparotto, eds. Serial/Portable Classic: The Greek Canon and its Mutations, exh. cat. (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2015), p. 235, cat. pc 24, plate on p. 361.

Sofroniew, Alexandra. Household Gods: Private Devotion in Ancient Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 71, fig. 34.

Lapatin, Kenneth. Luxus: The Sumptuous Arts of Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. 126, 166, 260, pl. 141.

Magaloni, Diana, and Michael Govan, eds. Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with Delmonico Books, 2016), Pp. 206, fig.

Crowley, Patrick R. “Crystalline Aesthetics and the Classical Concept of the Medium.” West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 23, no. 2 (Fall-Winter 2016), pp. 237-245, figs. 11, 12, 15.