Hellenistic Art: Venus de Milo

Michael Lahanas

Αφροδίτη της Μήλου

Griechische Kunst: Aphrodite von Melos

Part 1

Aphrodite of Melos (Venus de Milo) sculpture from [Hage?]andros of Antioch, son of Menides, 130 - 100 BC, marble 2.04 m. Louvre Paris, France. (Source)

Aphrodite of Melos (or Milos) is probably the most known Hellenistic sculpture although no work survived from antiquity mentions this work. In a hand (lost) she holds proud the apple of Paris given to the kallistiti, the most beautiful woman.

The Hellenistic sculpture was found on the island of Melos (Melos a Greek name for apple), one of the Cyclades islands, in 8.4.1820. It was inside a gymnasium.in a place dedicated to Hermes and Heracles, the patrons of the Palaestra by Bachius or Sextus, the son of Satius, probably a rich person of Melos who paid for the construction of the Gymnasium and Palaestra.

The sculpture was found by a farmer George Kentrotas, then a French explorer, Jules-Sébastien-César Dumont d’Urville , informs the French ambassador to Turkey (Marquis de Riviere) who gains the piece. The Greek authorities agreed to give it for a price of only 1000 francs! The statue, trailed by ground, loses her arms while it was transported to a French ship (Efstatette) in 23.5.1820 while some Greeks tried to prevent the transport. The statue was presented to King Louis XVIII and later it was obtained by the Louvre museum in Paris. Initially considered as a work of Praxiteles.

In a modern study many images of faces of different women were combined to form an average face. The result was a face of a beautiful woman. I was surprised by the following comment: "There is a well known story of the Greek sculptor commissioned to do a statue of Venus who studied different virgins and the combined their features in producing his ideal statue." I don't know how many virgins were used by the Greek sculptor. The DNA combinatorics tells us that the number of possible women is limited although much much larger than the current world population. Using Weber-Fechner's logarithmic law we can estimate how much more our senses will react viewing the "absolute perfect Aphrodite" in comparison to Venus de Milo

Another View (Source)

Click Image to enlarge

Venus de Milo (3D View) German Page

Venus de Milo Stamps from Grece and from Paraguay (from Latein Education Highway, Austria)

another Aphrodite Stamp

Part 2, Venus de Milo in Modern Art

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