Aphrodite Anadyomene, the Ludovisi Throne and the Boston Relief

Michael Lahanas

Reconstruction of the Ludovisi (left) and the Boston Relief (right). The 'Ludovisi Throne' (Rome, Museo Nazionale) and the 'Boston Relief' (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) together or separately formed probably an altar, c. 470-460 BC. Some scholars considered especially the Boston Relief to be a forgery. An analysis does not support this. Some consider the Boston Relief to be a Roman work (because of the lower artistic quality?). The Ludovisi “Throne” is a Greek work probably produced in Sicily (Lokroi or Locri) and transported to Rome after the Romans conquered Sicily in 241 BC. From the damages some say that the Ludovisi and Boston Relieves were taken from a single monument. Probably both parts belonged to the Aphrodite temple in Lokroi.

The Ludovisi Throne

Ludovisi “Throne, height 0.84 m, three sided block. Possibly originally from Locri Epizefiri in the south of Italy. It was found 1887 close to the Villa Ludovisi in Rome, Italy and since 1901 in Rome, Museo Nazionale.

Ludovisi Throne 3D View (German Webpage)

Naked flute-girl playing the double-flute, one leg crossed over the other, reclining on a cushion. Her right leg is anatomical impossible, Can you see why? Her hair is in a bun, wrapped in a sakkos. She is probably a so called hierodoulos of Aphrodite. The right image shows how the right leg would probably be anatomically more correct.

Details of "Aphrodite" Aphro-dite means risen (Anadyomene) from the foam (of the sea)

Aphrodite Ludovisi

Aphrodite (?) rising from the waves, dressed in a clinging robe, hair bound by a fillet. Probably the most famous piece from the Ludovisi “Throne”. Her cloths are wet which reveals her body. She is helped from the water by two women (Fates?) standing on the pebbled shore who raise her up. The left woman wears a Doric Peplos, the right woman a Ionian Chiton. Look at the toes (right leg of the left woman) who are in front of the Peplos, another “mistake” of the artist. Also the breasts of Aphrodite show too much sidewards.

Color Image

An veiled woman reclines on a cushion before a brazier (incense burner). She picks something (incense?) from a box she holds open in her left hand (Thymiaterion). Her sandals have no straps (painted or another mistake?). Maybe the relief shows a woman who wants to marry and she goes to the temple of Aphrodite, praying to the goddess.

The Boston Relief

A naked winged youth. The woman on the winged youth's right is smiling. She is wearing an Ionian tunic with a mantle. Below her, in the bottom corner, is a fish. The woman, left side, look rather sad, in the bottom corner there is a pomegranate. Some say the relief shows Eros judging a contest between Persephone and Aphrodite.

Detail right side

An old woman sitting on the ground

A naked boy (wearing sandals without straps). On the left lower corner a pomegranate.

What is the message (Old and young? Sad and Happy?), and is there some relation with the reliefs of the Ludovisi “Throne”.

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