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Wonderful Roman Stone Figure - Venus and Cupid

Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A finely carved stone statue of Venus (Greek Aphrodite) - goddess of love and beauty - draped in a long himation, with one shoulder and breast seductively revealed, her left arm extended and supporting the billowing drapery of her garment and her right arm raised to grip her garment's folds of fabric, standing in contrapposto with her right leg bent at the knee and weight shifted to the left leg, beside her son Cupid (Greek Eros) - the winged god of sexual desire, love, and attraction - holding a basket of grapes. Venus's visage is delineated with delicate features and topped by a wavy coiffure that is pulled back to a bow-like knot at the nape of her neck with tendrils falling past her shoulders - truly an ideal of feminine beauty. In contrast, Cupid is presented with a cherubic, chubby face. Both stand upon a tiered plinth. Size: 14" H (35.6 cm); 15.25" H (38.7 cm) on included custom stand.

Cupid (Eros) was the mischievous yet endearing god of love, a minion, constant companion, and according to some classical writers, a son of the goddess Venus (Aphrodite). In the Roman period, Cupid had become a child (to the earlier Greeks, he was a muscular youth). Here he retains his mischievous air, ready to help couples fall in love through not-entirely-innocent interventions with the fruit of the vine.

Roman sculptors were particularly skilled at capturing optical effects of light and shadow in order to attain greater realism and as time went on more impressionistic, abstract forms. This example, provides a window onto the style and technique of ancient Roman sculpture, skillfully carved in the round, inviting our eyes to move around the figure examining them from every angle. The sculptor of this piece could truly make stone come to life!

Condition: Losses to decoration on diadem and back of plinth/pedestal as shown. Expected surface wear with abrasions to high-pointed areas such as the fingers on her left hand. With an iron rich patina and earthen encrustations on surface as well.

Provenance: ex-private T.S. collection, San Diego County, California, USA acquired between 25 and 40 years ago

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