Crouching Venus  

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Lely Venus

The Crouching Venus is a Hellenistic model of Venus surprised at her bath. Venus crouches with her right knee close to the ground, turns her head to the right and, in most versions, reaches her right arm over to her left shoulder to cover her breasts.

Appreciation in the Renaissance

The early interpretation of the figure, as Venus at her birth, about to be carried ashore — a type of Venus Anadyomene — encouraged the restoration of a shell upon which she crouches, in which form the Medici sculpture was engraved by Paolo Alessandro Maffei, Raccolta di statue antiche e moderni..., 1704 (plate XXVIII)

Versions since the Renaissance

Several versions of the Crouching Venus issued from the atelier of Giambologna and his heir Antonio Susini; among examples of Susini's bronze reduction, one from the collection of Louis XIV is conserved in the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath, while another, in the collection of Prince Carl Eusebius von Liechtenstein by 1658, remains in the Liechtenstein collection, Vienna.

  • At Caserta Palace, the would-be Versailles outside Naples, a marble copy by Tomasso Solari was provided for the vast gardens in 1762 (Haskell and Penny 1981:323).

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