The J. Paul Getty Museum

Statuette of Aphrodite Leaning on a Pillar

Object Details

Title:

Statuette of Aphrodite Leaning on a Pillar

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Greek

Place:

Tanagra, Greece (Place Created)

Date:

250–200 B.C.

Medium:

Terracotta with polychromy

Object Number:

55.AD.7

Dimensions:

27.1 × 12.5 × 7 cm (10 11/16 × 4 15/16 × 2 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

Leaning on a pillar, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, wears a large wreath of flowers and a cloak draped around her hips. The goddess's pose is based on a much earlier, clothed statue of Aphrodite made by the sculptor Pheidias in the 400s B.C. In accordance with later Hellenistic tastes, the terracotta's artist chose to depict her semi-nude to emphasize her sensuality. The goddess's outstretched left hand originally held an offering, probably either a dove or an offering bowl. The figurine, originally brightly painted, still bears traces of red paint.

The city of Tanagra in northern Greece was a leading producer of small terracotta figurines, which were exceedingly popular in the 300s and 200s B.C. Women, especially elaborately and stylishly dressed women, were the favorite subject matter, but the figurines also often portray handsome youths, children, and Eros, the winged young god of love.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1955

Nicolas Koutoulakis, 1910 - 1996 (Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1955.

Exhibitions
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
Hellenistic Art from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 25 to August 15, 2001)
  • Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, California State University, San Bernardino, January 25 to August 15, 2001
Bibliography
Bibliography

Sofroniew, Alexandra. Household Gods: Private Devotion in Ancient Greece and Rome (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), pp. 62, 70-1, fig. 33.