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Statue of Venus Pudica - Works of Art - Ariadne Galleries

Provenance: Private Collection of Louis de Clercq (1836-1901), France.
Thence by descent, Henri de Boisgelin (1901-1967).
E. Koutoulakis (1910-1995), Switzerland.
Private Collection, Switzerland, 1984-2014.
Published: A. de Ridder, Collection de Clercq, Tome IV, Les marbres, les vases peints et les ivoires, Paris, 1906.
S. Reinach, Repetoire de la statuaire Grecque et Romaine, Tome IV, Quatre millle statues antiques, Paris, 1913, p. 233, no. 7.
Sotheby’s, London, 10-11 December 1984, lot 350. 

The voluptuous, nude form of the goddess of love and beauty is one of the most iconic images to have survived from antiquity. This rare, life-sized and finely-carved torso of Venus stands counterpoised (contrapposto), a pose that accentuates the sinuous curves of the body and exposes the skill of the artist in rendering the soft, fleshy form of the female body in cold, hard marble. Venus was depicted throughout the Graeco-Roman world as the embodiment of beauty, fertility and sensuality. Depicted in all scales and media, she has alluringly and universally encapsulated these principal aspects. Exemplifying the perfected nude female form, Venus has consistently captivated the viewer over the course of two and a half millennia. 

The deity is almost certainly inspired by the Aphrodite of Knidos, the Greek masterwork by Praxiteles of Athens, sculpted in the fourth century BC. Her left hand holds the Golden Apple of Discord, the drapery is masterfully executed, with a realistic freedom, splaying to expose the knee area of the right leg. In our sculpture the goddess is accompanied by a Cupid riding a dolphin diving with a fish in its mouth, the deity gazing up at his beautiful companion.

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