Visual Analysis of the Marble Statue of Aphrodite
Aphrodite statues were very popular in Greece during the Hellenistic period. The marble Aphrodite of Knidos was the most renowned among the many Greek goddesses. Also written as the Aphrodite of Cnidus, the marble sculpture was created by an Attic sculptor known as Praxiteles during the 4th century BC. Arguably, it is believed to be the earliest major sculpture to show the goddess in the nude. Praxiteles also created another draped version of the marble Aphrodite of Knidos. It is said that the draped version was the first to be sold, while the nude version remained rejected at first. However, the naked version was bought by the people of Knidos later on. They erected it in an open-air shrine, where it gained fame in the Greek world. The original Aphrodite of Knidos is depicted diffidently shielding her breasts and genitals, all the while attracting attention to her nudeness. Praxiteles used this idea to solve the issue of showing a powerful goddess figure and a symbol of love and sexuality in the nude. In the current sculpture, the lower legs of the marble statue have been reinstated with casts from the Roman copy in Florence, referred to as the Medic Venus. The goddess looks as if she is surprised and perplexed at her bath. The head, however, is looking to the left, which brings the feeling that the goddess has been disturbed. The original sculpture shows the goddess stretching her arms forward to safeguard her pubis and breasts. It is a gesture that conceals and highlights her sexuality. The surface of the statue seems untouched by cleaning or weathering. The left foot stands on a rectangular plinth, which took the whole body’s weight. Nonetheless, some of the features missing in this version include the arms, upper part of the support, and the intervening extent of the legs. The...