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A ROMAN MARBLE TORSO OF VENUS
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A ROMAN MARBLE TORSO OF VENUS

CIRCA 2ND CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN MARBLE TORSO OF VENUS
Circa 2nd Century A.D.
The goddess originally standing with her weight on her right leg, her left leg relaxed and bent at the knee, which projects forward, her torso bent slightly forward creating a crease at the navel, originally resting her left hand on her right upper thigh and her right hand at her left breast, with long tendrils of wavy hair falling on to each shoulder, the remains of a support along her left side
23½ in. (58.4 cm) high
Provenance
Swiss Private Collection, acquired in the early 20th century
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Christie's interest in property consigned for sale. Christie's generally offers property consigned by others for sale at public auction. From time to time, lots are offered which Christie's International Plc or one of it's subsidiary companies owns in whole or in part. Each such lot is offered subject to a reserve. This is such a lot

Lot Essay

The pose and complete nudity of this figure finds its closest parallels with the "Capitoline Venus" in Rome, no. 84 in Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique. The Capitoline Venus and others like her have been interpreted as depicting the goddess being surprised at her bath, hence her attempt to cover her breasts and pubes. However, this interpretation is now recognized as a 19th century conceit (see Ridgway, Fourth-Century Styles in Greek Sculpture, p. 263), since there is no mythological basis to support it. According to Ridgway (op. cit., p. 263) the goddess of love "is depicted as an epiphany, not in an unexpected glimpse, and in 'heroic nudity' as unconscious and glorious-as attributive-as that of the male gods. The gesture of her right hand is meant to point to, not to hide, her womb, emphasizing her fertility and complementing the action of her left hand."
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