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Statue of Venus (the Mazarin Venus)

Unknown2nd century A.D.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Venus, the goddess of love, stands nude, grasping a piece of cloth around her hips. The dolphin at her feet supports the figure and alludes to the goddess's birth from the sea. This depiction of Venus ultimately derived from an extremely popular Greek statue created by the sculptor Praxiteles about 350 B.C. Indeed Praxiteles's statue was so popular that, beginning around 100 B.C., many artists created variations on his theme of the naked Venus.



This statue is a Roman reproduction of one of those Hellenistic variants. It was discovered in Rome around 1510, where it contributed to the Renaissance revival of the Classical tradition. Scholars once believed that this statue was owned by Cardinal Mazarin, advisor to Louis XIV, king of France. Although this is unlikely, the statue is still known to many as the Mazarin Venus.



During its long history, the statue has been heavily damaged. The breasts, as well as parts of the cloth, arms, and dolphin, are restored, and the head may belong to another ancient statue. Marks on the back of the statue have been interpreted as gunshot wounds suffered during the French Revolution, although this story may be based more in romance than in fact.

Details

  • Title: Statue of Venus (the Mazarin Venus)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 2nd century A.D.
  • Location Created: Roman Empire
  • Physical Dimensions: 184 cm (72 7/16 in.)
  • Type: Mythological figure
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Marble
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 54.AA.11
  • Culture: Roman
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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