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Aphrodite of Milos  

Venus de Milo or Aphrodite of Milos

(3rd or 2nd century BC)

In April 1820, a peasant named Kentrotas, cultivating his field near the ruins of the ancient city of Klima, unearthed the statue together with two herms, some fragments of vases and remains of other sculptures.

According to the legend, Kentrotas became obsessed with the beautiful Goddess, hid the statue in the barn and went there every day to admire her. But his wife got jealous, she made a lot of noise, the news soon spread out.
According to the historical reports, the French sailor and amateur archaeologist Olivier Voutier, a great philhellene, was present when officials discovered the statue. Olyvie Voutie made the first drawings of the statue.

Aphrodite, Archaeological Museum of Milos

Aphrodite, Archaeological Museum of Milos

Venus was claimed by the French, through their consul Louis Brest, by a monk named Vergis who wanted it delivered to Moruzis (interpreter at the Arsenal   of Constantinople) seeking personal favour, and the dignitaries of the island who had been ordered by the commander of the fleet of Moruzis to ship all archaeological finds to Constantinople. 

The news reached the French ambassador De Riviere in Constantinople through the French officer Dumont D’ Urville whose ship was anchored in the harbour of Milos. Dumont d’ Urville got very impressed by the statue and urged by Voutie, he promptly informed the embassy.

Aphrodite, Museum of Louvre

De Riviere sent the secretary of the embassy comte de Marcellus to Milos. De Marcellus reached the island by the time the statue had been loaded on a Greek ship bound to sail for Constantinople. After long negotiations he achieved to take Venus with the French vessel Estafet. He delivered it to de Riviere, who had it sent as a gift to the king of France, Louis XVIII, who in turn presented it as a gift to the museum of Louvre

Louis of Bavaria, father of Othon, King of Greece, who had bought the ancient theatre at Klima demanded the statue from the French, claiming that since it was found on his property it belonged to him, but failed.
Thus the statue of Venus today adorns the museum of Louvre.

The statue is a little oversized with a height of 2.05m. It was sculpted on Parian marble, in two main parts doweled with metal pins.  

The hands that were never recovered arose many arguments. The prevailing one, is that with the right hand she lifted up her drapery while with the left hand she held the apple, symbol of beauty, which according to the Greek myth was offered by Paris to her ("to the most beautiful").
The work dates since the end of the Hellenistic period (2nd c. BC). A young, vigorous body, with a smooth contour, vibrant movement, slightly twisted torso and probably a waist-high pillar on the left where she rested her lower arm in order to achieve the desired movement of the body.
The drapery, covering the lower part of her body, is curved with deeply undercut folds that create a play of light and shadow.

Aphrodite, Archaeological Museum of Milos

Her neutral, impassive face with thin characteristics and a sweet, voluptuous expression depicts her divine beauty. Her hair is tied up behind with a lace.

A precise copy of the original statue, today found in the museum of Louvre, is on public display at the archaeological Museum of Milos.


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