Statuette of Venus
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Unknown sculptor; after Doidalsas of Bithynia, sculptor
Roman, 100 - 1 B.C.
Rock crystal
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.