PREFACE A STATUE OF APHRODITE, GREEK GODDESS OF LOVE
A STATUE OF APHRODITE, GREEK GODDESS OF LOVE
A beautiful but broken statue, yet still quite lifelike. In the picture of the Greek statue from 3rd century BC, identified as 'Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Love' in the Museum Catalogue, the totally nude young woman with loosely bound-up hair stands just slightly bent forward--with torso twisted slightly to the right and with her head also slightly turned to the right as she faces us, apparently looking at something we can't see. Face is calm and receptive--yet seems alert and perceptive, as she studies the situation around her. What is she looking at and why is she bending over slightly like that? Was the figure originally perhaps an outdoor sculpture and was she at first perhaps looking out towards a gap in the foliage or through some trees? At the site where she once stood, was there perhaps another sculpture standing not far from her and which she's still gazing at, as if she expected him or her to come to life?
Her left knee's raised, as if she's propping up her left leg up on something--perhaps to obtain leverage in order to lean over and get a better view of what she's looking at? Propping up her bare left foot on a rock or even a small boulder, perhaps--but whatever the object was, no doubt it was not part of the statue, and is therefore not appropriate to speculate about here. Or is this perhaps a young woman stepping out of some small or large declevity of some kind in the terrain in which she's been standing, such as the ground scooped out shallowly, or a pond, or a lake--or even the sea? Is this a statue of Aphrodite--born once from furious torrents of waves--but perhaps simply stepping out of some kind of bathtub now; and is what she's alert to & looking out for, simply the possibility of being spied upon?
Pictures exist from Roman times of Venus--the Roman version of Aphrodite--in
the process of fending off Pan.
In view of the still unruffled serenity and beauty of the young woman,
it's somewhat painful to behold the areas of the sculpture which were long
ago broken off from the figure--either accidentally or deliberately by vandals.
Alas, the missing parts of the statue include both arms, broken off several
inches above the elbows and just below the shoulders. And broken off just
below the left kneecap of the work is the entire left leg below its bended
knee--which Museum Curators in recent centuries have propped up on either
a slab of transparent glass or else lucite. But the serenity of the face
reassures us today--in a young century already filled with too many images
of truncated figures which have suffered outrageous violence--that issues
of pain are not involved here; and that she, at least, is not suffering.
The Greek statue of Aphrodite from the 3rd century BC, isn't a modern much
less contemporary work, after all! And so it would be inappropriate to make
that interpretion as well--even though some 21st century visitors strolling
around the Museum in which she's located, and viewing this ancient statue
of Aphrodite in the setting in which she's been on display for the past 1000
years, no doubt will.
The statue's apparently been hewn from yellow marble. Or else--some Art
Historians tell us with assurance--marble which over the course of more than
2000 years of time has turned yellow. But it's hard to imagine that the original
material was not yellow or better yet even tinted gold marble of some
kind--because the way it looks now, the surface patina of this cold marble
statue evokes IMHO, the luminous color of a divinely attractive young woman's
smooth and possibly even flawless, radiant firm skin almost perfectly,
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