Aphrodite of Cnidus
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Aphrodite of Cnidus was one of the most famous works of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles of Athens (4th century BC). It and its copies are often referred to as the Venus Pudica (modest Venus) type, on account of her covering her groin with her right hand. Variants of the Venus Pudica (suggesting an action to cover the breasts) are the Venus de' Medici or the Capitoline Venus.
The Knidian Aphrodite has not survived. Possibly the statue was removed to Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and was lost in a fire during the Nika riots. It was one of the most widely copied statues in the ancient world, so a general idea of the appearance of the statue can be gleaned from the descriptions and replicas that have survived to the modern day. For a time in 1969, the archaeologist Iris Love thought she had found the only surviving fragments of the original statue, which are now in storage at the British Museum. The prevailing opinion of archaeologists is that the fragment in question is not of the Knidia, but of a different statue.
- Probably the most faithful replica of the statue is the Colonna Venus conserved in the Museo Pio-Clementino, part of the collections of the Vatican Museums.
- The Kaufmann Head, found at Tralles, purchased from the C.M. Kaufmann collection, Berlin, and conserved in the Musée du Louvre, is thought to be a very faithful Roman reproduction of the head of the Knidian Aphrodite.
- At Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli in Italy, there is a second-century recreation of the temple at Knidos with a fragmentary replica of the Aphrodite standing at the center of it, generally matching descriptions in ancient accounts of how the original was displayed.
As well as more or less faithful copies, the Aphrodite of Cnidus also inspired various variations, which include:
- the Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
- the Barberini Venus
- the Borghese Venus
- the Venus of Arles (Louvre, Paris)
- the Aphrodite of Melos (the Venus de Milo, Louvre, Paris)
- the Venus de' Medici (Uffizi Gallery, Florence)
- the Esquiline Venus (Capitoline Museum, Rome)
- Venus of the Esquiline type (Louvre, Paris)
- the Crouching Venus (Louvre, Paris and British Museum, London)
- the Aphrodite Kallipygos (aka Venus Kalypygos, Museo Archeologico Nazionale Napoli, Naples)
- the Venus Victrix (Uffizi Gallery)
- Venus Urania (Uffizi Gallery)
- The Mazarin Venus, named after Cardinal Mazarin (now in the J. Paul Getty Museum)
- An example with added figures of Pan and Cupid at the Athens National Archaeological Museum.
- The Venus Felix at the Vatican Museums, a possible variation of the type.