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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.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Venus de Milo

The Venus de Milo (/də ˈml, də ˈml/; Greek: Αφροδίτη της Μήλου, romanizedAfrodíti tis Mílou) is an ancient Greek sculpture from the Hellenistic period, depicting a Greek goddess. It is one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. The Venus de Milo has been prominently displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris since shortly after the statue was rediscovered on the island of Milos, Greece in 1820.

Sculpted sometime between 150 and 125 BC, the work was originally attributed to the sculptor Praxiteles, but, based upon an inscription on its plinth, the statue is now widely agreed to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch. The statue is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and it bears the name of Venus, the Roman counterpart of Aphrodite. Some scholars theorize that the statue actually represents the sea-goddess Amphitrite, who was venerated on Milos. Made of Parian marble, the statue is slightly larger than life size, standing 204 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. The statue is missing both arms, with part of one arm, as well as the original plinth, being lost after the statue's rediscovery.

The sculpture is sometimes called the Aphrodite de Milos, due to the imprecision of naming the Greek sculpture after the Roman deity Venus.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Venus de Milo