Praxiteles, My EyesI'll never set eyes upon her. No one will. A riot that led to the burning of most of Constantinople almost 1,500 years ago consumed her fully. She was already almost 900 years old at that time, and a marvel that drew adventurers and lovers of beauty from all over the Mediterranean world for those centuries in which she captivated the hearts of men. Known as the Aphrodite of Knidos, she was the creation of Praxiteles.
How do I even know that she existed? Pliny the Elder visited her in the first century AD, and called her not only the finest sculpture by Praxiteles, but the finest in the whole world. There are many accounts of her from antiquity. Today, we know her from those desc
Praxiteles' Aprhrodite was the first life-size nude female sculpture of antiquity. The Roman copies, such as the Capitoline Venus above, are known as Venus pudica (modest Venus). Although her hands attempt to cover her as she prepares for her ritual bath to restore her purity, those same hands call attention to the femininity that she seeks to conceal. Her Roman hair is more elaborate than the style of Praxiteles' original, and, as he drew her forth from marble, she covered herself with only one hand.
Even the fact that I stood before the Capitoline Venus, and she before me, is improbable. She herself lay buried and forgotten for almost 1,300 years.
A closer copy, produced about two hundred years before my Capitoline Goddess, and about three hundred years after Praxiteles Aphrodite, gives us a better idea of how she looked.
So, I think of her, and wonder.