Aphrodite

MFAAphrodite

This life-size marble Aphrodite, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, represents the Greek goddess of love and desire, counterpart of the Roman Venus. Viewed through the Roman lens, she is essentially assimilative and benign, and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions. She can give military victory, sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes; in another, she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue.

Originally, Aphrodite would have held her right arm horizontally over her breasts and her left over her pubic region, a gesture that seems to have been a stock pose for sculptures of this goddess.

This piece is relatively recent, from the 2nd century A.D., though Aphrodite’s lineage goes back thousands of years. The combination of fertility and warfare is seen in the ancient Inanna. #Goddess ID

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