19C Marble of Venus Reclining

PRESENTING a beautiful 19th Century, Italian carved White Marble Statue of Venus reclining on a sofa.

From circa 1840.

This is a lovely table-top figurine, elegant neo-classicism !

Probably purchased on the ‘Grand Tour’.

The statue is circa 13.25 inches wide, 4.5″ Deep and 7.5″ Tall and has gorgeous original patina to the marble.



Venus (/ˈviːnəs/, Classical Latin: /ˈwɛnʊs/) is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality.

Venus embodies sex, love, beauty, enticement, seduction, and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods; in Latin orthography, her name is indistinguishable from the Latin noun venus (“sexual love” and “sexual desire“), from which it derives.[1][2] It has connections to venerari (“to honour, to try to please”) and venia(“grace, favour”) through a possible common root in an Indo-European *wenes- or *u̯enis (“friend”). Their common Proto-Indo-European root is assumed as *wen- or *u̯en- “to strive for, wish for, desire, love”).[3][4][5][6][7]

Bronze figurine of Venus, Lyon (Roman Lugdunum)

Venus has been described as perhaps “the most original creation of the Roman pantheon”,[8] and “an ill-defined and assimilative” native goddess, combined “with a strange and exotic Aphrodite”.[9] Her cults may represent the religiously legitimate charm and seduction of the divine by mortals, in contrast to the formal, contractual relations between most members of Rome’s official pantheon and the state, and the unofficial, illicit manipulation of divine forces through magic.[10][11] The ambivalence of her persuasive functions has been perceived in the relationship of the root *venes- with Latin venenum (poison), in the sense of “a charm, magic philtre“.[12]

In myth, Venus-Aphrodite was born of sea-foam. Roman theology presents Venus as the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. Her male counterparts in the Roman pantheon, Vulcan and Mars, are active and fiery. Venus absorbs and tempers the male essence, uniting the opposites of male and female in mutual affection. She is essentially assimilative and benign, and embraces several otherwise quite disparate functions. She can give military victory, sexual success, good fortune and prosperity. In one context, she is a goddess of prostitutes; in another, she turns the hearts of men and women from sexual vice to virtue.[13]

Images of Venus have been found in domestic murals, mosaics and household shrines (lararia). Petronius, in his Satyricon, places an image of Venus among the Lares (household gods) of the freedmanTrimalchio‘s lararium.[14] Prospective brides offered Venus a gift “before the wedding”; the nature of the gift, and its timing, are unknown. Some Roman sources say that girls who come of age offer their toys to Venus; it is unclear where the offering is made, and others say this gift is to the Lares.[15] In dice-games, a popular pastime among Romans of all classes, the luckiest, best possible roll was known as “Venus“.

Signs and symbols

Venus’ signs were for the most part the same as Aphrodite’s. They include roses, which were offered in Venus’ Porta Collina rites,[16] and above all, myrtle (Latin murtos), which was cultivated for its white, sweetly scented flowers, aromatic, evergreen leaves and its various medical-magical properties. Venus’ statues, and her worshipers, wore myrtle crowns at her festivals.[17] Before its adoption into Venus’ cults, myrtle was used in the purification rites of Cloacina, the Etruscan-Roman goddess of Rome’s main sewer; later, Cloacina’s association with Venus’ sacred plant made her Venus Cloacina. Likewise, Roman folk-etymology transformed the ancient, obscure goddess Murcia into “Venus of the Myrtles, whom we now call Murcia”.[18]

Myrtle was thought a particularly potent aphrodisiac. The female pudendum, particularly the clitoris, was known as murtos (myrtle). As goddess of love and sex, Venus played an essential role at Roman prenuptial rites and wedding nights, so myrtle and roses were used in bridal bouquets. Marriage itself was not a seduction but a lawful condition, under Juno‘s authority; so myrtle was excluded from the bridal crown. Venus was also a patron of the ordinary, everyday wine drunk by most Roman men and women; the seductive powers of wine were well known. In the rites to Bona Dea, a goddess of female chastity,[19] Venus, myrtle and anything male were not only excluded, but unmentionable. The rites allowed women to drink the strongest, sacrificial wine, otherwise reserved for the Roman gods and Roman men; the women euphemistically referred to it as “honey”. Under these special circumstances, they could get virtuously, religiously drunk on strong wine, safe from Venus’ temptations. Outside of this context, ordinary wine (that is, Venus’ wine) tinctured with myrtle oil was thought particularly suitable for women.[20]

Roman generals given an ovation, a lesser form of Roman triumph, wore a myrtle crown, perhaps to purify themselves and their armies of blood-guilt. The ovation ceremony was assimilated to Venus Victrix (“Victorious Venus”), who was held to have granted and purified its relatively “easy” victory.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_(mythology)

shadow-ornament

19C Marble of Venus Reclining .

Provenance: From a Dallas Private Collection.

Condition: It has a historic repair to the left arm in 3 places as can clearly be seen in the photos. The base likewise has 3 historic repairs and some chips.

Dimensions: 13.25 inches wide, 4.5″ Deep and 7.5″ Tall

Price: $650.00

19C Marble of Venus Reclining