by 1975 -
Galerie Uraeus (Paris, France)
Summa Galleries (Beverly Hills, California), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.
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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 216, Roman Treasury
Statuette of Venus
1st century B.C.
8.5 × 4 × 6 cm (3 3/8 × 1 9/16 × 2 3/8 in.)
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.
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