Bronze relief with Aphrodite and Anchises


British Museum

British Museum

This decorative relief from a mirror cover shows the goddess Aphrodite and the Trojan Anchises, the parents of Aeneas, reclining on Mount Ida. Aphrodite is accompanied by two winged Erotes or cupids, and Anchises by his dog. Aeneas was the Trojan prince who became the ancestral hero of the Romans: Virgil's poem the Aeneid describes his escape from Troy and eventual settlement in Latium (roughly modern Lazio) in Italy.

Mirror cover reliefs were often of very fine workmanship, the bronze being very thin sheet, which seems to have been shaped by hammering into a former and then the final details worked from the front. Duplicate examples of some types show that the formers were, at least on occasions, used more than once, though there is not enough evidence to indicate mass production. A lead backing prevented the relief from being dented and attached it to the mirror cover. Sometimes details were added in silver, such as the whites of the eyes, hair and Aphrodite's necklace.

This relief, together with a number of bronze statuettes and fragments of large statues, was said to have belonged to a hoard found at Paramythia in north-western Greece, but the bronzes are of different dates and styles and do not form a coherent group.

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  • Title: Bronze relief with Aphrodite and Anchises
  • Date Created: -350/-320
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 2.00cm; Length: 15.00cm; Width: 17.50cm; Weight: 208.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: repouss
  • Subject: classical deity; classical mythology; dog; cherub/cupid
  • Registration number: 1904,0702.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Paramythia
  • Period/culture: Classical Greek
  • Material: bronze
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Rollin & Feuardent. With contribution from Art Fund