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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Greco-Roman Art : Graeco-Roman Marble Head of Aphrodite Anadyomene
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Graeco-Roman Marble Head of Aphrodite Anadyomene - SK.035
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 1 st Century BC to 3 rd Century AD
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Collection: Classical
Medium: Marble

Additional Information: Art Logic—Formerly in a French private collection, acquired in the 1970s, Christie's 2007, French Passport Issued

Location: UAE
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“Look at the work of Apelles’ brush; Kypris, just rising from the sea, her mother; how, grasping her dripping hair with her hand, she wrings the foam from the wet locks” Antipater of Sidon, c. 125 BC Apelles’ panel-painting – installed in the sanctuary of Asklepios on the Island of Kos – would become the prototype for one of the most iconic representations of Aphrodite Anadyomene – in Greek, meaning ‘rising from the sea.’ For centuries, the legend of the origins of Aphrodite Anadyomene – as related by Athenaeus in 3rd century AD - dwindled amid the ranks of forgotten Classical mythology. This piece marks a moment of renewed interest and a renaissance, as it were, of classical Greek influence in the late Hellenic world, a time when Rome was gearing up to change the face of the Mediterranean. Athenaeus describes as the ancient artisans Praxiteles and Apelles watch Phryne take her clothes off, let her hair down, and walk naked into the sea at Eleusis. Phryne subsequently becomes the model for Apelles’ Aphrodite Anadyomene. Peculiarly, the masterpiece is scant mentioned in the ancient sources and seemingly remains forgotten until late Hellenistic times when it is suddenly – according to Pliny - rendered famous by the Greek epithets written in her praise. Apelles’ Anadyomene became the par excellence of divine female physiognomy and highly imitated paragon in sculpture throughout the ages. The asymmetrical features appear cut from butter; the head is bowed somewhat and eyes behold you in the confident gaze of a woman intrinsically aware of her own lush beauty and admiring glances she receives. The hair is parted and filleted in the classical style. Conceived at the cusp of changing traditions – a break in the evolution of female sculpture was set to occur as Rome grew to dominance – this piece may be viewed as a last vestige of an archetypical classical canon. A tour de force of grace and linear charm. - (SK.035)


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