This torso is a spectacular example of the so-called "wet drapery" style. It was first used in the late 5th century B.C. and continued through to the Roman period. Wet drapery exhibits a remarkable tension in that it manages to depict a garment, whose function is to clothe the nude form but does more to reveal rather than conceal. In it, weighty stone seems effortlessly transformed into gossamer fabric. The result is masterful and unquestionably erotic.
The present example is a Roman copy based on a Hellenistic original and likely depicts the goddess Venus. While wet drapery is common to other goddesses in the Greco-Roman pantheon such as Nike (best seen on the Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre), Iris and Hebe, this piece finds its closest parallels in the goddess of love (see no. 204, in A. Delivorrias, et al., "Aphrodite" in LIMC, Vol. II). Additionally, the movement and fluidity of the pose recalls the figure of a dancer in Rome at Centrale Montemartini (accession no. MC2845).