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Venus de Milo
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Despite her name, nobody actually knows who the Venus de Milo is.

Viewers like to think she’s the ever-so-popular goddess of love and romance, but she really doesn’t sport any kind of iconography that would point to the definitive answer of her identity. Artsy-fartsy experts are pretty sure that something to indicate who this femme fatale really is conveniently located on or in one of her missing arms.

Some sources say that when she was found, a hand with an apple in it was found nearby, which would mean that this is indeed Aphrodite or Venus, the goddess of love, who won the apple in a fair fight between Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, and Hera, goddess of the home and wifely duties. Like her arms, though, the hand is conveniently missing. Since we really don’t know, she could also be Amphitrite, a sea goddess who was worshipped in Milo; Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and a general badass; or some random nymph.

Even without an identity, this mystery woman is one heck of a drama queen. After being discovered by a farmer in 1820 on the island of Milo while he was digging for a well (he “accidentally” tossed her back into the hole that he found her in, then had to dig her back out to give her to the authorities), Venus was bounced around from admirer to admirer, starting with a French naval man named Oliver Vouter. He declared her a masterpiece convinced several other Frenchmen, including the Marquis de Rivière, that she was every bit as beautiful as he thought and she should be taken to France.

The Marquis de Rivière agreed that Venus shouldn’t go to the Turks, who technically owned the island of Milo and the statue, so he bought the statue and gifted her to King Louis the XVIII in 1821. Needless to say, the Turks weren’t thrilled that their love goddess was stolen out from under their noses, so they heavily fined the local authorities on Milo. Recognizing that it was really his fault that the government on Milo was fined, the Marquis de Rivière covered the Turkish fines.

Despite all the trouble that everyone went to in order to get the statue, Louis wasn’t overly fond of her and donated her to the Louvre only a year after he got it.

Sources

Sources

  1. Astier, Marie-Bénédicte. “Work Aphrodite, Known as the ‘Venus de Milo.’” 2005. Accessed December 18, 2016. http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/aphrodite-known-venus-de-milo.
  2. LearnMediaOfAmerica. “The Venus de Milo.” YouTube. February 17, 2008. Posted December 18, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08--tsUCzWg.
  3. “Venus de Milo.” Accessed December 18, 2016. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/miscellanea/ven....

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo (Greek: Αφροδίτη της Μήλου, Aphroditi tis Milou) is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Initially it was attributed to the sculptor Praxiteles, but based on an inscription that was on its plinth, the statue is now thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch.

Created sometime between 130 and 100 BC, the statue is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. However, some scholars claim it is the sea-goddess Amphitrite, venerated on Milos. It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. Part of an arm and the original plinth were lost following the statue's discovery. It is currently on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The statue is named after Aphrodite's Roman name, Venus, and the Greek island of Milos, where it was discovered.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Venus de Milo.