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Lot 0028C
Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A sensitive depiction of Venus pudica, hand-carved from a yellow-hued marble embellished with chalky white pigment around the base, red pigment around the feet and lips, and black pigment outlining her eyes and brows. She stands atop an integral rectangular plinth, covers one breast with her right hand, and clutches her robe to cover her pudenda with her left hand - hence the name "pudica." Rounded shoulders and a slender neck trace upwards to a timeless visage composed of almond eyes, a petite triangular nose, smooth cheeks, and full lips. A segmented tiara tops her centrally-parted coiffure, and a lengthy braid is draped down the nape of her neck and across her left shoulder. Size: 3.375" W x 11.125" H (8.6 cm x 28.3 cm); 11.75" H (29.8 cm) on included custom stand.

This type of sensuous pose had been favored by earlier Hellenistic sculptors, i.e. Alexandros of Antioch's "Venus de Milo" (130 to 100 BCE) thought to be inspired by Praxiteles' entirely nude the "Aphrodite of Knidos" (ca. 360 to 330 BCE). Indeed, nude or partially nude statues of Venus/Aphrodite made quite a statement in their day (as well as beyond), because they were among the first sculptures to portray a goddess in the nude, a practice that previously had only been reserved for males. Women had been depicted in the nude on earlier Greek pottery paintings; however, those women were typically slave girls or courtesans rather than deities. As an image of a sensual Venus, this example would have been regarded as quite erotic during antiquity. Speaking of the Aphrodite of Knidos for example, Pliny observed that some men were "overcome with love for the statue." Venus/Aphrodite has inspired countless seductive sculptural masterworks throughout art history, among the most famous, Attic sculptor Praxiteles's "Aphrodite of Knidos" (ca. 360 to 330 BCE), "Lely's Venus" (ca. 100 to 199 CE), a Roman copy of a Greek original which is now lost) named for the painter Sir Peter Lily, and Alexandros of Antioch's "Venus de Milo" ( 130 to 100 BCE).

For a stylistically-similar Venus figure made from silver, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1995.539.14: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/256241

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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#138953

Condition

Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small loss to front of base, minor nicks to base, legs, body, and head, with fading to areas of pigmentation and some finer details, and light encrustations. Traces of pigmentation around base and face, and nice earthen deposits throughout.

Buyer's Premium

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Roman Marble Statue of Venus Pudica

Estimate $4,500 - $6,500Oct 11, 2018