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Statue of Aphrodite

Statue of Aphrodite
© BA Antiquities Museum/M. Mounir

Registration Number(s)
BAAM Serial Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum Number T0005

Inv.Inventory
 (Greco-Roman Museum) 29456

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Mehamara Collection

Statue of Aphrodite

Category:
Sculpture in the round, statues, human / gods and goddesses statues
Date:
Graeco-Roman Period, Roman Period, 2nd cent. CE
Provenance:
Lower Egypt, Alexandria, El-Mehamara (Sidi Bishr)
Material(s):
Rock, marble
Height:
103 cm
Hall:
Mehamara Collection


Description

Aphrodite stands nude, based on her right leg, lifting her left foot, and bending with her torso a little to take off her sandal with her right hand while trying to conceal the details of her body, not out of modesty but to attract attention to the parts she covers with her hand. The winged Eros stands over a vessel covered with Aphrodite’s drapery, looking at the goddess and holding up his left arm to hold her arm, while placing his left palm on her breast. Aphrodite’s body is agile and proportional, while the features of the face are perfect and expressionless. The irises of the eyes are definite, and the hair is split from the middle, slightly wavy, in thick locks pulled back in a bun, from which two big tresses hang on the shoulders. This hairdo is similar to that of Faustina Minor, and accordingly, the statue dates back to 138–161 CE, which is the first half of the Antoninus Period. Aphrodite has a diadem on her head and serpentine bracelets on her upper arms.
The remains of small feet appear on the base of the statue in front of Aphrodite. They are believed to belong to another bigger Eros. This statue could be a Roman replica of the original Greek statue, as it was usual to depict more than one Eros in one formation during the Roman Period, or it could be the feet remains of the God Priapos, as they resemble in size the feet of dwarfs.

Statues of Aphrodite

Aphrodite was one of the most prominent Greek gods in art because of her presence in many legends, for she was the goddess of beauty, reproduction and fertility. Depiction of Aphrodite started in the Archaic Period and acquired beauty in the Classical Period. However, her most famous statue remains “Aphrodite of Cnidus”, sculptured by Praxiteles in mid 4th century BCE, who depicted her nude as she prepared for her ritual bath. The destiny of this statue remains unknown. We only have copies of the original that have been sculpted in later times.
In the Hellenistic Period, artists chose to depict Aphrodite while nude in large numbers and using different materials. They invented many forms of Aphrodite under the theme of bathing, in addition to a statue of her kneeling to take off her sandal in preparation for bathing (like this statue). This pattern remained prevalent during the Roman Period.


The information given here is subject to modification/update as a result of ongoing research.

Bibliography
  • Daly Kathleen N. Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z. New York: Facts on File, c2004.
  • M. Bieber. The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age. New York: Columbia U.P.,1961.
  • S. Reinach. Répertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine, vol. I and II. Paris: 1897.
  • عزيزة سعيد محمود. تأملات في ڤينوس سيدي بشر بالمتحف اليوناني الروماني بالإسكندرية.الإسكندرية: جامعة الإسكندرية، ۱٩٨۱.
  • منى حجاج عبد الغني، أساطير الإغريق ابتداع وإبداع. الإسكندرية: ۲۰۰۷.
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