skip to content

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

Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican


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

Roman. Original: c.350 BCE
Of original: Praxiteles

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

Search Casts

Use our search tools to search the Casts Archive

Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge

Every cast tells two stories.
One ancient. One modern.

Admission is free.

We are open

Opening hours

Tues-Fri: 10am-5pm
Sat: 10am-1pm (Univ. term-time only)
Sun & Mon: Closed

Closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Visit us

Museum of Classical Archaeology
Faculty of Classics
Sidgwick Avenue

Get in touch

Tel. +44 (0)1223 330402

Facebook Twitter

For an explanation of what personal information we gather when you visit the University’s website and details of how that information is used please see the following University Privacy policy:

Copyright statement

All images and material on our websites are ©Museum of Classical Archaeology, University of Cambridge unless otherwise stated. Permission is required to reproduce our images.

See also our Copyright Notice and Take Down Policy.

Important Information

Museum of Classical Archaeology Web Accessibility Statement