Aphrodite and the Gods of Love
The most enticing of the ancient divinities, Aphrodite also remains the most enigmatic. Worshipped and celebrated, she has been depicted in ways both ethereal and everyday: it was with her image that Praxiteles introduced the female nude into Western art. As an icon of female sexuality, Aphrodite’s effigy has graced everything from ancient temples to modern cosmetics labels. The ancients, knowing that love conquers all, considered her mightier than Herakles. Aphrodite and the Gods of Love presents, for the first time, a comprehensive and scholarly appreciation of the love deity. Through 158 marble sculptures, painted vases, statuettes of terracotta and precious metal, mosaics, and gems, the book traces the early worship of Aphrodite as a fertility figure in the Near East, her emergence as love goddess for the Greeks, and her eventual adaptation by Rome as Venus. It highlights the myths surrounding this emblem of sensuality, notably those concerning seduction and marriage, and presents the circle of her lovers and her children, Eros, Hermaphrodite, and Priapos. Aphrodite and the Gods of Love is a feast for the eye and a celebration of desire.
Christine Kondoleon is the George D. and Margo Behrakis Senior Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A specialist in late Roman and Early Byzantine art, she has written and lectured widely on mosaics and domestic arts. She curated and authored the catalogues for the exhibitions “Antioch: The Lost Ancient City” and “Games for the Gods.” Phoebe C. Segal is a curatorial research associate in the Department of Art of the Ancient World at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her dissertation, “Soaring Votives: Anathemata in Archaic Greek Sanctuaries,” explored the use of columns and pillars as pedestals for votive statues. She is currently working an article concerning the representation of the Adonia in Athenian art and comedy.