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A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF APHRODITE
Property from the Collection of Max Palevsky
A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF APHRODITE

CIRCA 1ST-2ND CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE HEAD OF APHRODITE
CIRCA 1ST-2ND CENTURY A.D.
Over-lifesized, on a long slender neck, her oval face with a rounded chin and slightly-parted full lips, the almond-shaped eyes with thick lids, drilled at their inner canthi, the thin modelled brows arching gracefully and merging with the bridge of her nose, her forehead peaked at the center, her luscious wavy hair center parted, the individual strands delineated, pulled over the tops of her ears, bound in a double band and tied in a chignon at the nape of her neck
16 in. (40.6 cm.) high
Provenance
with Robin Symes, London, 1974.

Brought to you by

G. Max Bernheimer
G. Max Bernheimer

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Lot Essay

This impressive and beautiful head is a Roman interpretation of the renowned cult statue of the goddess Aphrodite from her temple at Knidos, sculpted in the 4th century B.C. by Praxiteles. The earliest Greek large-scale depiction of the goddess in the nude, the Knidia has been thought to exemplify feminine beauty. The citizens of Knidos erected the statue in an open-air temple, affording a splendid view of Praxiteles' masterpiece from all angles. Considered at the time the finest sculpture by one of the most gifted sculptors, the Aphrodite of Knidos has been revered and celebrated throughout history as a masterpiece. The statue's fame became so great that numerous copies and variations were made during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, from full-scale replicas in marble for temples and villas, to small bronze and terracotta statuary for household shrines, to depictions on engraved gems for personal adornment. In the 2nd century A.D., the writer Lucian (Eikones 6) chooses the facial features of the Knidia when constructing an imaginary perfected female composite sculpture (p. 19 in Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age), "the hair and forehead and finely penciled eyebrows as Praxiteles made them, and in the melting gaze of the eyes with their bright and joyous expression" For a complete example of the Knidia, now in the Vatican Museums, see figs. 24-25 in Bieber, op. cit. For the double band in the hair of Aphrodite compare the head found at Chiragan now in Toulouse, no. 39 in Pasquier and Martinez, Praxitèle.

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