San Antonio Museum or Art

Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World

Statuette of Aphrodite
Roman (from Syria), 1st–3rd century A.D.
Bronze
h. 31.7 cm (12 1/2 in.); max. w. 17.2 cm (6 3/4 in.); max d. 10.1 cm (4 in.)
Purchased with the Grace Fortner Rider Fund
2013.3

Boldly revealing her nude body, Aphrodite holds an apple, the token of her victory as the goddess deemed most beautiful by the Trojan prince Paris. The small bronze pad in her left hand once supported a figure of her son Eros. The goddess's intricately incised crown, carefully worked hair, and engaging facial features reflect the highly skilled craftsmanship of ancient bronzeworkers. The statuette was acquired in 1862 by the French collector Louis de Clercq. According to De Clercq's catalogue, the Museum's statuette was found in Tartus, a coastal city in Syria. Aphrodite, readily associated with the Phoenician fertility goddess Astarte, was remarkably popular in the ancient Levant. This statuette may have been worshipped in a household shrine or placed in a tomb. The stepped base perhaps evoked the steps leading up to the goddess's temples. The statuette is on view in the Roman Gallery.