The Venus De Milo

Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

The most celebrated statue of her was purchased for $50 by a French official who was stationed on the island of Milos in 1820. He then brought the statue home to present it to Louis XVIII who gave it to the Louvre Museum, where it remains to this day.

The story behind the statue’s missing arms is well known. The Venus De Milo’s arms were omitted from its reconstruction in the Louvre, because of their rough craftsmanship (it was believed that they were not part of the original statue) however it was later decided that the arms were in fact original parts of the statue and were crafted roughly because they would have been above the eye line, which was a common technique at the time. Had the statue remained in tact, the role of the right arm would have been to hold up the drapery that covers her lower body. The left arm would have been slightly below eye level, holding an apple.

The Venus De Milo is a product of the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greek art, where physical characteristics of the sculpture portray the character’s inner world. The human condition and state of mind was a subject that was heavily covered during this period and the naked figure of Venus de Milo encapsulates the period’s embrace of eroticism.

A graceful figure of femininity, carved from marble, the Venus De Milo is the personification of beauty and its ideal proportions. She seductively stands with a sharp twist of the leg and a curved torso. Her high waist and good proportions embody true perfection, which is why she has come to be revered around the world by art lovers as the ultimate combination of grace and grandeur.

The two main elements that symbolize eroticism in this sculpture are the way she stands and her drapery that covers the bottom half of her body. The fascinating S shape that is formed from the hip to the shoulder, with a slight outward thrust to the right signifies an erotically suggestive pose and further sexual tension is created by the drapery that appears as if it is just about to drop off entirely.

While some may argue that the Venus De Milo is a reflection of how women are objectified in ancient Greek art, most agree that because she is modeled on a goddess, she has a name and an identity, therefore her ‘object’ status is reduced.

This armless marble statue paved the way for many artists to create their own depictions of female nudity and beauty and it is responsible for inspiring various erotic sculptures throughout history.

(picture taken from

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