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Limestone statue of Aphrodite holding winged Eros

Period:
Classical
Date:
late 4th century B.C.
Culture:
Cypriot
Medium:
Limestone
Dimensions:
H. 49 3/4 in. (126.4 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
74.51.2464
  • Description

    From the eighth century B.C. the Greek poets associated the goddess Aphrodite with Cyprus, but on the island itself the local Great Goddess did not become assimilated with Aphrodite until the fourth century B.C., when the worship of many Greek divinities was introduced. In this work the goddess is clearly identified as Aphrodite by the small figure of her son Eros, winged god of love, who perches on her shoulder. The Cypriots did not adopt a conventional Greek way to represent Aphrodite but transferred their own iconography for the Great Goddess of the island to their images of Aphrodite. From the ninth to the sixth century B.C. images of the Cypriot Great Goddess were inspired by Eastern art, especially that of the Syro-Phoenician goddess Astarte, who appeared nude. From the fifth century the local goddess was shown with a high round headdress decorated with vegetal and floral motifs, as befits a fertility goddess. Here Aphrodite wears such a crown decorated with palmettes alternating with nude females—recalling the figures of Astarte. She has long locks falling over her shoulders, a motif taken from early Greek sculpture, and she wears a chiton with himation (cloak) drawn up over the back of the headdress.

  • Provenance

    Sanctuary of Golgoi–Ayios Photios

  • References

    Myres, John L. 1914. Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 1405.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1981–1999. Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vols. 1-8. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

    Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneleise, 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. Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen, Aphrodite, no. 264.

    Karageorghis, Vassos, Dr. Joan R. Mertens, and Marice E. Rose. 2000. Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 341, p. 212.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 299, pp. 259, 465.

    Ulbrich, Anja. 2010. "Images of Cypriot Aphrodite in Her Sanctuaries During the Age of the City-Kingdoms." Brill's Companion to Aphrodite, Amy C. Smith and Sadie Pickup, eds. Leiden: Brill, pp. 189, 191-92, fig. 9.9.

    Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection: Stone Sculpture. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 357, Myres 1405.

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