Venus of MadridCa. 150. White marble, 184 x 68 cm.
This sculpture is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original dating from the second-first century B.C. Stripped of the baroque additions that distorted it, it is part of a large cycle of Venuses linked by similar postures. The beginning of this type of sculpture would seem to lie in a work by Lysipus or his school known through a Roman copy: the Venus of Capua. In it, the goddess, with a nude torso, looks at her reflection in Ares' shield, which she holds in both hands. Adaptations from the Second Century B.C. include the rather fleshier Venus of Milo, and the prototype from which the present work is derived, with a clothed torso. Similar figures, with diverse variations, continued to be made for Roman female portraits. These bore wings, as images of Victories, allowing them to be used on triumphal monuments.