A childhood Memoir “Venus De Milo”

As a child I remember seeing a miniature statue of this marvelous sculpture at home . Even as a child  this statue captured my admiration for it and I can  say that it still charms me, I love the white marble color which automatically connects itself to divinity. The curvaceous  figure speaks of it’s graciousness and generosity of beauty and womanhood.

I guessed at times, she looks like an epitome of beauty, hardly had I known that  this beautiful statue mainly known as ” Venus De Milo” is basically believed to be of Aphrodite a Greek Goddess of love, beauty , pleasure, and procreation. Her Roman equivalent  is the goddess Venus.Aphrodite also has many other local names, such as Acidalia, Cytherea and Cerigo, used in specific areas of Greece.According to Hesiod’s Theogany, she was born when Cronus cut off Uranus’ genitals and threw them into the sea, and from the sea foam (aphros) arose Aphrodite. Thus Aphrodite is of an older generation than Zeus.Because of her beauty, other gods feared that jealousy would interrupt the peace among them and lead to war, and so Zeus married her to Hephaestus, who was not viewed as a threat. Aphrodite had many lovers, both gods like Ares, and men like Anchises. Aphrodite also became instrumental in the Eros and Phyche legend, and later was both Adonis’ lover and his surrogate mother. Many lesser beings were said to be children of Aphrodite.

“Venus De Milo” an ancient statue now in Paris at the Louvre. Carved by Alexandros,a great sculptor who have made many sculptures for Alexander the Great  on the Maeander River in about 150 BC, it was found on the Aegean island of Melos on April 8, 1820. An inscription that is not displayed with the statue states that “Alexandros, son of Menides, citizen of Antioch of Maeander made the statue.” The general composition derives from a 4th-century-bc Corinthian statue.  The statue is a conspicuous example of the Hellenistic sculptural tradition’s academic traits and close reliance on older masterpieces.The statue has sometimes been thought to be a replica, freely inspired by an original from the late 4th century BC, because of its resemblance to the Aphrodite of Capua (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples) — a similar style Roman work, copy of a Greek original. The Venus de Milo certainly revives the classical tradition, but would appear to be a classicizing re-creation dating from the late 2nd century BC. The goddess’s air of aloofness, the harmony of her face and her impassivity are stamped with the aesthetics of the 5th century BC; the hairstyle and delicate modeling of the flesh evoke the works of 4th-century sculptor Praxiteles. However, the sculpture reflects innovations that appeared during the Hellenistic period, between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC. The spiral composition, the positioning of the figure in three-dimensional space, and the small-breasted, elongated body are characteristic of this period. The goddess is arrested in time, holding her legs together as the drapery slides over her hips. Her nudity contrasts with the effects of light and shade of the finely-detailed drapery.

In 1820, Yorgos, an ordinary farmer in Milos Island, found some stone carving in his field. When he dug deeper , he found four statue. Three of them were Hermes, and one of them was Aphrodite, Beauty Goddess. Three weeks after the following day,Choiseul Archaeology Expedition came and bought the Aphrodite and brought it to France. Louis XVIII gave it a name and still used until now. He called it Venus de Milo. He contributed it to Louvre Museum and still be a masterpiece of art until now.
I remember clearly, asking my Grandmother ” where are her hands, how did they break??” And she told me that the original statue lacked arms.

Although the Aphrodite of Milos is widely renowned for the mystery of her missing arms  enough evidence remains to prove that the right arm of the statue was lowered across the torso with the right hand resting on her raised left knee so it would seem to hold the sliding drapery wrapped around the hips and legs in place. There is a filled hole below her right breast that originally contained a metal tenon that would have supported the separately carved right arm.Some people said that Yorgos found the part of her hand which held an apple, so thats why Louis XVIII gave it name with Venus de Milo. Milo in Greece mean apple. Moreover this sculpture found in Milos Island (Apple Island).

The left arm was held out below the eye level of the statue, above a herm and held an apple. The right side of the statue is worked more carefully and finished in greater detail than the left side or back, indicating that the statue was intended to be viewed in profile from its right. The left hand would have held the apple up into the air further back inside the niche the statue was set in. When the left hand was still attached, it would have been clear to an observer that the goddess was looking at the apple she held up in her left hand. But it is also argued that She is popularly thought to represent Aphrodite, because of her half-nakedness and her sensual, feminine curves. She may have held an apple — an allusion to the Judgement of Paris — a crown, a shield, or a mirror in which she admired her reflection. However she might also be the sea goddess Amphitrite, who was venerated on the island of Milo.

The statue won instant and lasting fame. Essentially two blocks of marble, it is comprised of several parts which were sculpted separately (bust, legs, left arm and foot) then fixed with vertical pegs, a technique which was fairly common in the Greek world (especially in the Cyclades, where this work was produced around 100 BC). The goddess originally wore metal jewelry — bracelet, earrings, and headband — of which only the fixation holes remain. The marble may have been embellished with (now faded) polychromy. The arms were never found.

Though the arms are never found but it looks like she has pseudo arms which embrace our senses in  such a manner that it is futile to shake her charms away, no doubt she is Aphrodite.

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9 thoughts on “A childhood Memoir “Venus De Milo”

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