Statuette of Aphrodite Leaning on a Pillar

Unknown250–200 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Leaning on a pillar, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, wears a large wreath of flowers and a cloak draped around her hips. The goddess's pose is based on a much earlier, clothed statue of Aphrodite made by the sculptor Pheidias in the 400s B.C. In accordance with later Hellenistic tastes, the terracotta's artist chose to depict her semi-nude to emphasize her sensuality. The goddess's outstretched left hand originally held an offering, probably either a dove or an offering bowl. The figurine, originally brightly painted, still bears traces of red paint.

The city of Tanagra in northern Greece was a leading producer of small terracotta figurines, which were exceedingly popular in the 300s and 200s B.C. Women, especially elaborately and stylishly dressed women, were the favorite subject matter, but the figurines also often portray handsome youths, children, and Eros, the winged young god of love.


  • Title: Statuette of Aphrodite Leaning on a Pillar
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 250–200 B.C.
  • Location Created: Tanagra, Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.1 × 12.5 × 7 cm (10 11/16 × 4 15/16 × 2 3/4 in.)
  • Type: Mythological figure
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta with polychromy
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 55.AD.7
  • Culture: Greek
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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