Exhibitions/ Art Object

Bronze statuette of Aphrodite

Late Hellenistic
late 2nd or 1st century B.C.
H.: 18 in. (45.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Neilson, 1935
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 163
The eyes are inlaid with glass paste. The proper left leg from the knee down is restored

The Greeks did not represent the goddess Aphrodite as nude in large-scale statues until the middle of the fourth century B.C., when the sculptor Praxiteles created the famous Aphrodite of Knidos. Representations of the nude Aphrodite in a variety of types and media became widespread by the Late Hellenistic period. This statuette is a variant of the Aphrodite Anadyomene (hair-binding) type. The pose may have been inspired by a work that had a canonical status equivalent to the Aphrodite of Knidos, a famous painting of Aphrodite Anadyomene by Apelles, court painter of Alexander the Great. The variant exemplified here was clearly popular in this size and medium, since several examples are known.

By referencing other copies of this type, one can conclude that the figure's left forearm was raised in a similar manner similar to the right one. She is probably shown in the act of arranging her hair and may even be grasping the ends of the fillet wound about her hair to tie it off. However, since the attribute she held in her hands is missing, various reconstructions are possible. It has also been suggested that the goddess is represented as adorning herself with jewelry.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1933. "Notes: An Important Loan." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 28(1): p. 13.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1936. "A Greek Bronze Statuette." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 31(2): pp. 30-2, figs. 1-2.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 110, 248, pl. 88a, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1984. Aphrodisias-Athena, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 2. Aphrodite, no. 491, Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

Mattusch, Carol. 1996. The Fire of Hephaistos: Large Classical Bronzes from North American Collections no. 34, pp. 266-74, Cambridge, Mass: Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard Art Museums.

Related Objects

Bronze statuette of an artisan with silver eyes

Date: ca. mid-1st century B.C. Medium: Bronze, silver Accession: 1972.11.1 On view in:Gallery 164

Bronze youth

Date: late 5th century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 74.51.5679 On view in:Gallery 175

Bronze diskos thrower

Date: ca. 480–460 B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 07.286.87 On view in:Gallery 153

Bronze statuette of a veiled and masked dancer

Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 1972.118.95 On view in:Gallery 163

Bronze statuette of a rider wearing an elephant skin

Date: 3rd century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 55.11.11 On view in:Gallery 163