With youthful idealising features, the goddess's head is turned slightly to her left. Her wavy centrally-parted hair is brought back into a low chignon (now missing) at the back, with tresses pulled over the crown and tied in a top-knot. Her oval face is enhanced by delicate features and lidded eyes.
Pierre, Claude & Jeanine Vérité Collection, France, 1930 - 1980. The Vérité family were dealers of
primitive art and archaeology. The business and the collection began in Paris with Pierre Vérité, in the
1930s, when he and his wife Suzanne opened their
first gallery 'Tribal Art and Archeology'.
Then in 1937, the 'Galerie Carrefour' was created at
141 boulevard Raspail in the 14th arrondissement. Pierre's son Claude and his wife Jeanine joined the business in 1950 and it is Jeanine's records and inventory which record this beautiful head of Venus.
The position of the goddess’s head, her hairstyle and her
gaze find close similarity with the head of the Capitoline Venus, named after a
Roman marble statue of the goddess, now in the Capitoline
Museum, Rome. The original of this type is thought to date to 3rd
– 2nd Century BC Asia Minor. Cf. M. Bieber, The Sculpture of
the Hellenistic Age, New York, 1955, p.20.
The 'Venus Pudica' type was ultimately derived from the 4th century BC
original by Praxiteles. The Aphrodite of Knidos, as it is known, enjoyed great
renown as the first devotional statue of a female goddess in the nude. The
sculpture became an immediate sensation when it was placed in a sacred temple
on the island of Knidos. Although the sculpture is now lost, Roman copies such
as this help inform us of its likely appearance.
The present example can be compared to a head of the goddess
in Dresden, see LIMC, II, 2, Aphrodite, no. 410, p.52.