Europe, Netherlandish or German, Baroque period, 17th century. Expertly carved from fruitwood, a bozzetto or study for a larger statue of Venus, seated on a rock, half nude – draped to the waist with her upper body revealed, and presented in the candid act of reaching down to dry her foot after a bath. The goddess’ physique is rendered by a sculptor who was clearly well-versed in the study of anatomy and the depiction of the flesh. The statue also conveys a sense of motion that begs the viewer to move around the figure and examine it from every angle, this appreciation for movement and dynamicism quite characteristic of the Baroque period. Such statuettes of idealized bathers were traditionally identified as Aphrodite/Venus, the goddess of love, and this is a wonderful example that follows in the tradition of the bathing Aphrodite/Venus originated in the Classical World with Praxiteles’ statue of Aphrodite ca. 350 BCE as well as Renaissance statues like Giambologna’s “Bathing Venus” (1597). Size: 4.2″ W x 9.375″ H (10.7 cm x 23.8 cm)
A 17th C. Baroque South German fruitwood statue of a draped maiden realized GBP 9,375 (equivalent to about $11,986) at Christie’s London, 26 January 2011, Lot 401.
Published: Art of the Ancient World, Volume iV (1985), no. 387. On loan to Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA; Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University; Fitchburg Art Museum, 1986 to 2016.
Provenance: ex-E. Gardner Collection, exhibited at Royal Albert Hall, London, 1880; ex-Sotheby’s London, December 1984; E.B. collection, Orion, Michigan, acquired from Royal Athena in February, 1986. Published: Art of the Ancient World, Volume iV (1985), no. 387. On loan to Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA; Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University; Fitchburg Art Museum, 1986 to 2016.
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