This exceptional bronze is based on the renowned 4th century B.C. masterpiece known as the Cnidian Aphrodite by Praxiteles. Portraying the goddess as she emerges from her bath, the prototype and subsequent interpretations epitomize the ancient ideal of feminine sensuality. As Kozloff and Mitten note (The Gods Delight, The Human Figure in Classical Bronze, p. 106), the universal attraction of this pose can be summarized in the psychology of the experience as "the viewer became, in essence, a voyeur, allowed to behold something that was at once enticing and forbidden."
While the original contextualized the scene with the addition of a water vase and discarded drapery, later versions often portray the scene without Praxiteles' thoughtful diversions from Aphrodite's nudity. She is meant to be admired from every angle. In describing a similar example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kozloff and Mitten explain (op. cit., p. 107), "from each point of view, a special aspect of her beauty is stressed: the face in the left view, the buttocks from the back, the breasts in the right, and the pelvis from the left. ... Her gestures are decorous, her pose convincingly self-protective, and her head...still reflects some shadow of the soft elegance that must have distinguished the original Praxitelean image."