Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8 - Venus de Milo

On April 8, 1820, a young Greek peasant farmer named Yorgos Kentrotas, on the island of Milos in the central Aegean Sea, discovered a partly buried marble statue that came to be known as the Venus de Milo. It was found in a niche, in two large pieces (the upper torso and the lower draped legs), along with fragments of the upper left arm, the left hand holding an apple, and an inscribed plinth (base). Two French naval officers arranged for the statue’s sale to the French ambassador to Turkey. King Louis XVIII of France later presented it to the Louvre museum in Paris. Carved and assembled from separate blocks during the Hellenistic age, between 130 and 100 BCE, the idealized statue is believed to represent Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans). The sculptor was apparently an itinerant artist, Alexandros of Antioch. The arms and plinth were lost in the 1820s. Artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir once dismissed the Venus as a "big gendarme."

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