Statue of the Aphrodite of Knidos
The marble statue of Aphrodite was created in Europe, on the Roman, Imperial period on the 1st or 2nd century A.D, by the sculptor Praxiteles, and believed to be the first major work to illustrate the goddess without clothing. Praxiteles is one of the most celebrated of the Attic sculptors. Only one of his sculptors still survive, although the authenticity of this piece is doubted by some. Praxiteles was highly influential in the development of Greek sculpture, bringing an elegant and seductive grace to his work. His innovative style was a transformation from the tone set by his ancestors of impressive yet somehow divide sculpture, especially in representations of the gods.
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Praxiteles overcomes the problem of distancing the viewer from producing a much more humanizing view of the gods. Around the same time, Praxiteles produce the Aphrodite of Knidos, but this one was a dress. According to Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), the draped figure was purchased first, while the naked figure was denied at the beginning. However, the people of Knidos soon bought the unclothed statue and set it in an open-air shrine, where it quickly became a sensation in the Greek world.
This statue represents a uniform composition. Her sensual figure and extra beauty perform the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. The statue transfers a feeling of serenity and calm.
Marble is a solid and sparkling stone that is made up of calcium carbonate. The pallidity of calcite marble gives the sculpture it’s somehow white color. The fine grains made it possible for the sculpture to be uniform and delicate. The use of marble connects the sculpture to the shine and delicacy of female skin. The standing sculpture feet are placed in a certain way that brings a switch overreaction or movement and not a permanent poise. The left foot stands on a rectangular base, which takes the whole body’s weight.
The goddess looks as she is surprised and uncertain. The head is looking to the left and gives us the feeling that the goddess has been disturbed. The original sculpture shows the goddess stretching her arms forward to protect her breast and genitals, all the while attracting attention to her nakedness. Praxiteles used this idea to clarify the issue of showing an influential goddess figure and a symbol of love and sexuality in the nude. The surface of the statue seems untouched by cleaning or weathering.
Some of the features missing on this sculpture such as the arms, upper part of the support, chin, nose and the lips appear to be damaged. The figure’s hair is tied into a knot at the back. There are no earrings since her ears are not pierced.