The Venus de Milo

Venus de MiloThe Venus de Milo is an ancient Greek statue that is one of the most recognizable sculptures in the world. Also known as the Aphrodite of Milos, this marble sculpture is said to depict the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.

It stands at about 80 inches high, making it slightly larger than life size. Aside from its form, the statue is made recognizable by its missing arms. This sculpture was said to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch as was found out from an inscription written on the statue’s original plinth.

The Venus de Milo was discovered in 1820 buried within the ancient city ruins of Milos in the Aegean Island of Melos or Milo. It was found by a peasant and was found in two main pieces, the one being the upper torso while the other composed of the lower draped legs. Fragments of the upper left arm as well as the left hand holding an apple was found with the statue along with an inscribed plinth. The peasant later on sold it to French soldiers who were exploring on the island.

As it was being transported, the French sailors had to fight off some Greek brigands who also wanted possession of the statue. In the process, the statue was dragged into some rocks as it was being led to the ship, breaking off both of the arms.

After the statue arrived in France, it was sent to the Louvre where the statue was reassembled. There the statue was discovered to have been made out of six to seven blocks of marble that was pieced together, as was the practice of sculptors during that era.

The left arm and hand holding an apple was not reassembled to the whole statue as the restorers found this part of the statue to be not as well finished as the rest of the statue, making them believe that it may not have been a part of the original.

A plinth that came with the statue was found to fit perfectly with it. The inscription on the plinth has stated that Alexandros of Antioch made the statue and not the artist Praxiteles as was being publicized by some of the experts then. The plinth mysteriously disappeared before the statue was to be presented to King Louis XVII in 1821. What remains of the proof today are two drawings and an early description of the lost plinth.

The style of the statue was indicative of the late Hellenistic Period in Greek art, which was a mixture of the revival of classical themes with innovation. The slipping drapery that is evident in the statue shows a closed stance and introduces a different look to the figure. It also aims to hide the joint made by the two blocks of marble that were sculpted separately. The same was also done to the left arm and leg.

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