Unknown Artist - Venus de Milo
Venus de Milo, undated copy
MARBLE, 27 inches high
Gift of the Estate of Albert L. Farwell
Venus (called Aphrodite by the Greeks), goddess of love and beauty, was a celebrated cult figure in the ancient world. The original Venus de Milo, of which this is a greatly reduced reproduction, is housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris and is among the most recognized works of art in the world. Believed to have been sculpted during the second century B.C.E., she likely originally held the golden apple presented to her by the mortal Paris, who was asked to give it to the "fairest" among the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. The Venus, de Milo was discovered by a peasant on the Greek island of Melos (which means "apple") in 1820 and was quickly acquired by French diplomats who presented it to their king, Louis XVIII. The sculpture soon became a symbol of French cultural aspiration during the nineteenth century, as the nation struggled to recapture the intellectual preeminence that it enjoyed before the end of Napoleon's reign in 1815.