From:UC Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities
Name/TitleMarble Head of a Figurine of Aphrodite
About this objectThis small-scale head of Aphrodite, with her hand raised to squeeze water from her hair, is thought to be an ancient miniature reproduction of either the Crouching Aphrodite or Aphrodite Anadyomene. A famous fourth century BCE painting of Aphrodite Anadyomene by Apelles showed the adult goddess rising from the sea and teasing out the tresses of her hair with her hands.
Made from a greyish, slightly translucent marble, the head is preserved from the lower neck up. There is evidence of a slight lean in the neck but the head itself seems frontal. The hair is parted and drawn down to the sides. She wears a band or low diadem over the top of her head. Her right hand is raised to hold her hair, the left hand has broken away, but was likely holding her hair in the same way. Venus-rings can be seen on the neck. The details of her face are blurred.
Small-scale reproductions were popular in the Hellenistic period and well into Roman times. A major source of inspiration was the cult statue of Aphrodite made by the Athenian sculptor Praxiteles for the city of Cnidus; it was renowned for its grace and beauty and became the benchmark for the ideal female body.
Whether she was depicted clothed or naked, statues of Aphrodite were designed to arouse sexual desire at the same time as inspiring religious awe.
The date of this piece is difficult to determine, but is likely that it is Roman of the first, or second century CE.
Date Made1st - 2nd Century CE
Medium and MaterialsStone: Marble
Measurements46mm x 55mm x 30mm
Subject and Association KeywordsArt and mythology
Subject and Association KeywordsGoddesses in art
Subject and Association KeywordsWomen in art
Subject and Association KeywordsFigurative art
Subject and Association KeywordsArt and religion
Named CollectionThe James Logie Memorial Collection, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Credit LineFrom the collection of H.D. Broadhead. Donated by Mrs Broadhead, 1968.
Copyright LicenceAll rights reserved