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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Aphrodite of Knidos

The Greeks were more used to images of naked men than women. So when the sculptor Praxiteles made a statue of the goddess Aphrodite in the nude it was seen as a daring innovation. He is said to have offered two Aphrodites for sale, one clothed, the other nude, both at the same price. The people of Kos chose the clothed one but the Knidians bought the nude and set it up in a round temple (tholos) on a hillside overlooking the sea.

Pliny the Elder wrote “its shrine is completely open, so that it is possible to observe the goddess from every side; she herself, it is believed, favoured it being made that way.”

This is one of the best preserved of several Roman copies of the Greek original

Number: 
233
Material: 
Marble
Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican

Size: 
2.05m
References: 

Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 239 (n.3)
Picard: Archéologie Grècque; Sculpture III (1948), 576, fig.240
Blinkenberg: Knidia (1933), 121, no.574 (Sala a Croce Greca)
Helbig: Führer durch die Öffentlichen Sammlungen Klassischer Altertümer in Rom (2nd edition) 206, no.324 (574)
Rizzo: Prassitele, 53-, pls. 82-4
Michaelis: Journal of Hellenic Studies VIII (1887), 324

Date: 
Roman. Original: c.350 BCE
Sculptor: 
Of original: Praxiteles
Provenance: 

Formerly in the Palazzo Colonna. Also formerly in the Sala a Croce Greca

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