We’ve celebrated the many faces of Aphrodite as part of the buildup to the release of my first erotic romance story. Her Teddy Bare is a short story in the Aphrodite’s Island series which will be released on May 6th (Read a blurb and excerpt by clicking the cover on the left.)
The last Aphrodite is actually a Venus figure. It’s over 30.000 years old and not as beautiful as most we have seen the last two weeks. The many Venus figures from Western Europe are some of the earliest art found with the oldest being around 40,000 years old. The purpose could be religious, apotropaic (good luck figure), or for fertility. Read more about it and creating scifi/fantasy worlds today at my new group blog, Worlds of the Imagination HERE.
Tomorrow, The search for Aphrodite’s Island begins.
This is a seldom seen statue of Aphrodite in a “bikini.” Thought bikinis were recent inventions? No-no. This statue is considered too risqué to be on public display. Unusual considering some of the others we’ve seen. The statue was discovered in Pompeii. It is kept in the “Secret Room” in the Museum of Naples with limited access.
BTW, as you may have guessed by now, I spent a lot of time in Italy – four years to be exact. Pompeii was one of my favorite places to visit. Imagine a place sealed in stone for 2,000 years.
The Romans were not that concerned about nudity. Consequently, there were many risqué statues, frescoes, and mosaics. Some were so risqué they were covered with grates. Of course, a tip could get that grate open to some really revealing pics. Tomorrow, Elizabeth Fountain visits An Author’s Desk.
This is another painting of Aphrodite in one of Pompeii’s private homes, the House of Venus. Some of the homes remained in excellent shape. Even gardens could be recreated from the remains of roots that were excavated. While not the original, it’s believed to be modeled on Campaspe, Alexander the Great’s mistress, by Apelles – at the time considered the greatest painter of the time. Tomorrow, more Aphrodite.
This “Crouching Venus” or “Venus at her Bath” is a Roman copy from the 2nd century AD of a Greek original. Typical of the Hellenistic Greek statues, the beauty of the statue can be viewed from any angle. Praxiteles, a famous Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC sculpted the first nude statue of Aphrodite (featured on another day). Other versions of this statue feature Eros or a water jug for bathing. The statue was owned by King Charles I of England at one time. It is now housed in the British Museum. Tomorrow, another Venus.
Although the Greek/Roman Aphrodite/Venus and the Egyptian goddess Isis were major figures in their respective religions, they were sometimes represented together. Images of Aphrodite wearing the Egyptian vulture cap have been found in the Middle East. This statuette of the goddess may have been made in the image of the Roman Empress Faustina Minor, wife of Marcus Aurelius. During the Imperial period, the Imperial family was often represented in the guise of gods and goddesses which associated them, the empire, and religion. This bronze figure from the second century AD is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Tomorrow, More Aphrodite.
Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and her lover, Ares, the God of War are pictured in this fresco in Pompeii, Italy. Aphrodite had many lovers and Ares was one of the long-term paramours. Aphrodite/ Venus was a frequent subject of the artists of the ancient world.
To produce a fresco, paint is applied to wet plaster that has been spread on a wall. While some examples of fresco survive the media itself is susceptible to deterioration over time, destruction by human hands, and to external damage from weathering, floods, or earthquake.
Frescoes survive in Pompeii probably more often than any other site of the ancient world. In 79 AD Pompeii, a small but wealthy town on the Mediterranean south of Naples, was buried under volcanic ash and rocks when Vesuvius erupted. Prior to the eruption the volcano was covered by trees, vineyards, villas, and pastureland and the populace was unaware that they were living on a time bomb. The eruption was totally unexpected and resulted in the death of many of the citizens and the preservation of much of Pompeii in a hardened ash and volcanic rock. Consequently, many frescoes – like the one here – were preserved in all their magnificent colors. Tomorrow, More Aphrodite.
This Attic red figure vase at Antikenmuseen in Berlin, Germany dates from the 5th century BC. Hermes (with the winged cap) leads the three goddesses Aphrodite (the figure in the middle), Athene and Hera to Paris for his judgement. The prize is a golden apple for the fairest. The Trojan prince sits in the doorway holding a royal staff and lyre. Before him stands Hermes, holding a kerykeion (herald’s wand) and wearing a chlamys (traveller’s cloak) and winged cap. Of the three goddesses, Aphrodite is veiled, and holds a winged Eros (god of love) and myrtle wreath in her hands; Athene holds a spear and helm; Hera is crowned and bears a miniature lion and royal lotus-tipped staff.
Tomorrow, more Aphrodite.
This representation of Aphrodite is on an Attic red figure on an amphora. It is from the Greek Classical from the 5th century BC which makes the amphora 2,500 years old. In the story, Helen who is the wife of Menelaus, the King of Sparta. Later on we’ll check out a Judgment of Paris where Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy, is asked by three goddesses to judge who is the most beautiful. Aphrodite promises him the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chooses Aphrodite. She gives him Helen, the wife of Menelaus. Not pictured, Nemesis directs Tykhe (ill-fortune) to punish Paris. His act set off the Trojan War which ends in the destruction of Troy and the death or enslavement of its citizens.
Tomorrow, More Aphrodite.
This Aphrodite who is the figure on the right holding a myrtle in her left hand is depicted on an Apulian red figure Krater (a bowl used to mix water with wine in ancient Greece) It is from the Late Classical / Early Hellenistic (4th century BC) period. it is owned by the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, USA
Aphrodite and her attendant are pictured in a the story of the love of Endymion and Selene. The figure of Aphrodite, holding a myrtle wreath in her hand, is labeled on the vase. Her companion is probably Peitho (Persuasion), who usually appears beside the goddess in these scenes. Selene, a Titan associated with the moon, fell in love with Endymion, a handsome Aeolian youth. She asked Aphrodite to make Endymion immortal. Aphrodite did so while he was asleep. Selene liked his looks so much while he slept that he was left in an eternal sleep. Tomorrow, Another Aphrodite
Venus/Aphrodite, goddess of love is the central figure draped in red and dressed in blue with Cupid above her. Like the flower-gatherer, she returns the viewer’s gaze. The orange trees behind her (a Medici symbol) form a broken arch above her to draw the eye. She stands in front of a myrtle bush which is sacred to her. Venus/Aphrodite clothed herself in myrtle bush after she emerged from the sea where she was born.
In 1499 the painting was in the collection of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’Medici. One of the models proposed for Venus was Semirande, the wife of Lorenzo. Another possible model was Simonetta Vespucci, a supposed mistress of Guiliano de’ Medici. Since 1919, the painting has hung in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. During World War Two, the picture was moved to Montegufoni Castle about ten miles south-west of Florence to protect it from wartime bombing.
Next week, Treasures of the Uffizi.