Venus de Milo

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Venus de Milo
It is better known as the Venus de Milo, an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. It was created at some time between 130 and 100 BC, and is believed to depict Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love and beauty. It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. Its arms and original plinth have been lost. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch; it was earlier mistakenly attributed to the master sculptor Praxiteles. It is at present on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Although the Venus de Milo is widely renowned for the mystery of her missing arms, enough evidence remains to prove that the right arm of the goddess was lowered across the torso with the right hand resting on the raised left knee so the sliding drapery wrapped around the hips and legs could be held in place. The left arm was held at just below the eye level of the statue above a herm while holding an apple. The right side of the statue is more carefully worked and finished than the left side or back, indicating that the statue was intended to be seen mainly as a profile from its right. The statue would have been tinted as was the custom of the era, adorned with jewellery and positioned in a niche inside of a gymnasium. The painting of the statue along with its jewellery were intended to make it appear more lifelike.
Discovery and history
The Venus de Milo was discovered by a peasant named Yorgos Kentrotas in 1820, inside a buried niche within the ancient city ruins of Milos, on the Aegean island of Milos. The statue was found in two main pieces (the upper torso and the lower draped legs) along with several herms , fragments of the upper left arm and left hand holding an apple, and an inscribed plinth. Kentrotas unearthed the first piece of the statue in his field and called a French naval officer called Voutier, who was looking for antiquities in a nearby site to help. When another naval officer called Jules Dumont saw it, he realized its importance and arranged to buy it from the Turkish administration. The whole community of Milos was involved since they wanted a better price. The whole thing was complicated when Nicholas Mourouzis a Greek translator for sultan in Constantinople intervened to buy it for a thousand rupees, a better price for the karnotas family. As the statue was roughly dragged on the rocks to the French ship, it suffered damages and the arms and apple it was holding were lost for ever. French sailors had to fight Greek brigands for possession The Greeks succeeded in capturing the statue and started loading it on their ship. The French ambassador's representative, Vicomte de Marcellus, arrived just as the statue was being loaded aboard the Greek ship bound for Constantinople, seized the statue and persuaded the island's chief citizens to annul the sale.
Upon arrival at the Louvre, the statue was reassembled, but the fragments of the left hand and arm were initially dismissed as being a later restoration because of the rougher workmanship. It is now accepted that the left hand holding the apple and the left arm are in fact original to the statue but were not as well finished as the rest of the statue since they would have been somewhat above eye level and difficult to see
The plinth mysteriously disappeared shortly before the statue was presented to King Louis XVIII in 1821 and only survives in two drawings and an early description. The king eventually presented the statue to the Louvre museum in Paris.
In the autumn of 1939, the Venus was packed for removal from the Louvre in anticipation of the outbreak of war along with the “winged Victory of Samothrace” and taken to the countryside for safety
The Venus de Milo's great fame in the 19th century was not simply the result of its admitted beauty, but also owed much to a major propaganda effort by the French authorities. In 1815, France had returned the Medici Venus to the Italians after it had been looted from Italy by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Medici Venus, regarded as one of the finest Classical sculptures in existence, caused the French to consciously promote the Venus de Milo as a greater treasure than that which they had recently lost. It was praised by artists and critics as the epitome of graceful female beauty.