Venus of Arles

Venus of Arles
Venus of Arles

Throughout the history of art many artists have revolutionized the different artistic disciplines with their pieces, and it is easy for us to remember the names of artists from the baroque or neoclassicism but even in the Classic Period, in the distant and Ancient Greece also raised names of artists that shone with their own light. Thus, for example, the work of Praxiteles revolutionized the sculpture of ancient Greece and today he is still one of the most renowned artists in the classical world, not in vain his sculptures marked new parameters both in terms of the composition of the work, as well as thematic innovation.


Actually, we don't know much about the classical sculptor and not even his date of birth is guaranteed among experts, although it seems to be around 400 B.C. in the city of Athens. Praxiteles was the son of Cephisodotus the Elder and according to Pliny his golden years in sculpture must have been in the 1960s.

On this occasion we analyze a sculpture known as the Venus of Arles, which would be a Roman copy based on a model by Praxiteles, the Aphrodite of Thespiae. Actually this is not strange to us since most of the Greek works that have come down to us are not Greek as such, but they are Roman works copied in marble from Greek originalsmade in bronze.

The Venus ofArles is a sculpture somewhat larger than life size, reaching almost two meters in height, which receives its name from having been found in the Roman theater of Arles in France. The sculpture did not appear complete, but the first thing that was found was the head and later some of the body parts. The work, however, underwent a major restoration by sculptor Jean Cornu when the French monarchLouis XIV required the piece for his personal collection at Versailles

Despite everything, the experts are sure that the most defining features of Praxitellian sculpture can be found in the piece, being a youthful work that would act as a prelude to other more mature and meditated sculptures such as the well-known Aphrodite of Knidus.

In the Venus of Arles we find a graceful and beautiful goddess who appears naked from the waist up and who presents an elegant but resounding movement that makes her move away from the static models that had been imposed until then; Moreover, one of the main characteristics of the Venus of Arles is the multiplicity of its points of view, since the posture of its limbs makes it so open that the viewer can walk around the work to find new angles of vision.

How not to point out the slightly elevated position of her hips, known as the praxitelian curve, so typical of the sculptor Praxiteles that it contributes to giving the piece greater naturalism and dynamism.

Popular topic