Head of Aphrodite

Roman Provincial
Imperial Period
3rd century A.D.


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 099.

Dimensions

Height: 7 cm (2 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

65.1703

Medium or Technique

Marble, perhaps from Dokimeion

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

The small head catches something of the studied vagueness of Praxitelean female beauty as interpreted in the Hellenistic ateliers of Egyptian Alexandria. Aphrodite wears a large diadem, with scalloped enrichment to suggest flowers or jewels on the outer edges; she has her hair done in a knot behind, with the ends in the form of curls or tresses extending toward the shoulders.
The flowers on the upper right edge of the diadem are missing, and the neck was broken across at the start of the shoulders. Otherwise, the head and neck are in good condition, with surfaces made warmer by a yellowish patina.
The complete statuette was of a familiar type, probably one showing the goddess gathering up her robe around her as she emerged from the sea, or, conversely, letting it fall from her body as she stepped into the bath.

Provenance

By date unknown: Richard R. Wagner Collection (acquired by him in Istanbul); gift of Richard R. Wagner to MFA, December 8, 1965

Credit Line

Gift of Richard R. Wagner