Head of Aphrodite
3rd century A.D.
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 099.
Height: 7 cm (2 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, perhaps from Dokimeion
Not On View
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.
By date unknown: Richard R. Wagner Collection (acquired by him in Istanbul); gift of Richard R. Wagner to MFA, December 8, 1965
Gift of Richard R. Wagner