Like the Mona Lisa, this exhibit can get extremely busy, so try and avoid peak times and see her during lunch hours or in the evening.
The Venus de Milo was donated to the Louvre by Louis XVIII in 1821 and is believed to depict the Greek goddess Aphrodite in her half nakedness and sensual curves. She stands with a peaceful, reserved look on her face, a drape carelessly hanging from her waist, completely shrouded in mystery.
Discovered by a peasant on the Greek island of Milos in the southern Cyclades, she is made of six or seven carefully conjoined blocks of marble. The fascination lies in the statue’s exceptional preservation (she dates from 130 BC), but also in that both arms are missing, leading to widespread speculation about what gesture the goddess might have been making. What remains is an anonymous attitude, with one leg positioned in front of the other, body tilted, the stumps of the arms clearly indicating some kind of action taking place.
The goddess has an air of aloofness. Written on her face is an expression of harmony and passivity which are the aesthetics of the 5th century BC, and the hairstyle and delicate facial features echo the 4th. Most strikingly, however, the spiral composition, her positioning in three-dimensional space and the small-breasted, elongated body are characteristic of the 3rd to 1st century BC, meaning the statue spans over five hundred years of stylistic change.
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