One Hundred and ninety-eight years ago today, on the April 8th 1820, the statue of Venus de Milo was discovered by a farmer called Yorgos Kentrotas, inside a buried niche in the ancient city ruins, on the island of Milos (currently Tripiti) in the Aegean Sea. The wonderful marble sculpture was created by one of ancient Greece’s finest sculptors, Alexandros of Antioch, between 130 and 100 BCE. It appears to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans).
Upon discovery it was found broken in sections and later reconstructed in France without her missing limbs. Interestingly, debate has surrounded the positioning or placement of her arms. What was she doing and holding in her hands for instance are questions we have asked for centuries since her discovery. Of course, we will never know for sure in spite of some absurd and other more credible theories. Even so, it doesn’t stop us from admiring the goddess’ allure. The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones arguably best sums up my fascination with her, describing the Venus de Milo, as “perfect but imperfect, beautiful but broken – the body as a ruin.”
Venus de Milo is on permanent display at the Louvre.
Photo credit: The header image of the statue of Venus de Milo by flickr user Richard Mortel is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommecial-ShareAloke 2.0 license.