Roman, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. A superb, finely cast bronze chariot attachment featuring beautiful Venus, goddess of romantic love, nude save her lovely, crescent-shaped diadem, gracefully standing in classic contrapposto, holding a garment in her left hand and a long wavy lock of hair in her right, as her elbow rests on a slender pillar. The iron-shaped form behind possesses a large attachment loop at the upper end. Brilliant artistry and gorgeous green patina! Custom stand. Size: 2.375" W x 7.125" H (6 cm x 18.1 cm); 8.25" H (21 cm) on stand
Venus (the Roman Aphrodite) is depicted as if she is about to take a bath or perhaps stepping out of it, with her head ever so slightly tipped to her right, an attractive coiffure parted at the center, swept back along the contours of her diadem, the long, curled locks meticulously delineated and cascading down her shoulders. Look closely and you will see that the goddess' elegant, oval face is sensitively modeled so as to present a naturalistic visage characteristic of the Hellenistic period with a rounded forehead, almond-shaped eyes, a fine brow line that arches gracefully and merges with the bridge of her nose, a soft rounded chin, and bow-shaped lips. Her body and its weight-shift pose reveals the sculptor's study of anatomy, realistic proportions, and movement of the human body.
Interestingly, Roman chariots were not used for warfare, but instead in triumphal processions and circuses. As a result, elaborate finials like these became de rigeur, lending a unique look to each chariot, where they were mounted on posts above each wheel. The carriage was supported by leather straps wrapped around the shaft and guided by the projecting arms. This absorbed the vibrations of the wooden wheels, making the ride smoother. Imagine the sun flashing off of the dark, polished bronze that these would have been when made!
Provenance: Ex-private collection of William Froelich, NY, acquired in the 1960s
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