• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12256

    Antiquities

    12 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 5

    A ROMAN MARBLE VENUS

    CIRCA 1ST CENTURY B.C.-1ST CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN MARBLE VENUS
    CIRCA 1ST CENTURY B.C.-1ST CENTURY A.D.
    Lifesized, the voluptuous goddess depicted nude, standing with her left leg slightly advanced, her torso leaning forward causing a crease across her abdomen, both arms lowered, with a diaphanous mantle draped diagonally across her legs and over the crook of her right arm, with folds cascading down her upper right thigh
    35 ½ in. (90.2 cm.) high


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    The voluptuous nude female form in white marble is arguably the most iconic image surviving from antiquity. Born from the sea foam, the goddess of love, Aphrodite to the Greeks, Venus to the Romans, was the embodiment of beauty, sexuality and fertility. The most celebrated statue of the goddess in ancient times was fashioned by the renowned sculptor Praxiteles for the goddess' temple at Knidos, circa 350 B.C. Thought to be the very first depiction of the goddess in full nudity, Praxiteles' original survives only in a multitude of Hellenistic and Roman interpretations, many of which depict her in various states of undress. Over-lifesized and finely-sculpted, the present work is a notable Roman example of the pudica type that seemingly presents a unique treatment for the drapery. Closest in spirit is the Venus Menophantos, a 1st century B.C. statue found in the Camaldolese monastery of San Gregorio al Celio in Rome, and now in the Palazzo Massimo, Rome, which bears the signature of the sculptor Menophantos (see no. 422 in A. Delivorrias et al., "Aphrodite," in LIMC, vol. II). Like the example presented here, Menophantos' Venus has a mantle diagonally across her left leg, but it does not extend across her pudenda to the right arm.

    Provenance

    Private Collection, Geneva.
    Archeologie, Francois de Ricqles, Drouot Richilieu, Paris, 25 September 1998, lot 573.
    with Robin Symes, London, acquired from the above.
    with Royal-Athena Galleries, New York, 2001 (Art of the Ancient World, vol. XII, no. 1).
    Acquired by the current owner from the above, 2001.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION