The marble statue known as the Aphrodite of Melos is one of the most recognizable works of art from the ancient world. Also referred to as Venus de Milo (Venus, of course, is the Roman version of Aphrodite's name), this imposing image of the goddess of love and beauty has inspired admiration over the centuries. And there is little doubt about the reason why she is so famous - the statue, with its elegantly twisting pose (and of course, those memorable missing arms), has become an icon of Western art.
Aphrodite of Melos was created during the Hellenistic period, but the form of the statue recalls the grand achievements of the Classical style. Indeed, some scholars have remarked that this image shares much stylistically with earlier works, such as the Aphrodite of Knidos of Praxiteles. However, there are details that are pure Hellenistic bravado. One such detail is the drapery around Aphrodite's hips and legs. This drapery, with its intricately carved folds, resembles the swirling garments worn by another famous Hellenistic statue - the glorious Nike of Samothrace.
Today, this statue of the goddess Aphrodite continues to dazzle audiences with her eternal beauty at the Louvre.
Learn more about Aphrodite at Mythography.
Art in the Hellenistic Age
Professor J.J. Pollitt brings the drama and dynamism of the Hellenistic period vividly to life in this excellent book. With chapters covering such diverse topics as "Hellenistic baroque" and "Rococo, realism, and the exotic", the reader is introduced to the many changes that took place during this era of artistic innovation.
This beautifully illustrated book (from the Phaidon Art and Ideas series and written by Nigel Spivey) covers the subject of ancient Greek art brilliantly.