This relief made around the second quarter of the 5th century BC can now be seen in the rooms of the Museum of the Baths of Rome.
This location in a Roman museum is because it was found in the Italian capital. But because of its style, art historians have classified it as a sculptural work of Greek origin. And they even think that it would be a work made in the Peninsular Greece.
This is a work from a time prior to the most classic and emblematic figures of that art, since the Ludovisi Throne is a magnificent example of what has been called style Severus of the statuary and sculpture of the Ancient Greece. An artistic phase where works such as the Efebo critio or the famous Charioteer of Delphi were created.
In this case it is not a free-standing figure, but rather a relief perhaps made for a tombstone, which has representations on three of its sides.
It is a work that already advances certain characteristics of classical art that will arrive in the coming decades, but in which quite archaic features can still be seen.
Regarding the theme treated in this relief, historians have given various interpretations to discover its meaning. In the central surface (the one we see in the image) the scene shows us the birth of Aphroditeemerging from the sea. While on the sides two adored ones are sculpted. On one side a veiled matron burning incense, and on the other a hetaira (a kind of prostitute of the time) playing a double flute. This last figure is very interesting, since it is one of the first examples of the female nude in Greek sculpture.
The beauty and value of the work are unquestionable, but there are still many enigmas to be solved in terms of its dating, its purpose and its meaning. There are even critics who deny the authenticity of the work.
It's known as a throne to begin with, but that use is ruled out. On the other hand, there has been research that has given it a specific origin and this would be an Ionian temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite in Marasa. This study showed that the dimensions of the Ludovisi Throne fit perfectly with the blocks that currently remain in the archaeological remains of the temple.
In short, it is a relief that has given rise to many debates among scholars of ancient art, and these different interpretations will continue, but the reality is that it is a true and very beautiful work of art.