A version of an original from Hellenistic Greece. In the fourth century BC the sculptor Praxiteles created a life size naked statue of Aphrodite (Venus). It was placed in a shrine in her temple at Knidos in south-western Turkey. It was an important innovation in classical sculpture and subsequent Hellenistic sculptors created several new types of nude Aphrodite figures, that further emphasized the sexual nature of her cult. This trend perhaps reflected both the rising social status of women and changes in male attitudes towards women: previously only male statues had been naked. This statue is sometimes known as "Lely's Venus" named after the painter Sir Peter Lely (1618-80). He acquired it from the collection of Charles I, following the King's execution in 1649. After Lely's own death, it found its way back into the Royal Collection.
58 1/2"H x 17 1/2"D x 26"W
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