Ancient Aphrodite statue found off the southern coast of Italy

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An almost meter-high (80 cm) Aphrodite statuette was found at a depth of around 50 ft, off the coast of Cape San Vito, Taranto, in Southern Italy, on 26th of January. Interestingly enough, contrary to earlier reports, no shipwreck had been found (till then) in the vicinity, though Italian authorities are looking forth to explore any such possibility. As for the piece of art itself, the statuette is judged to be inspired by a famous statue of the Hellenistic period (that started after the death of Alexander).

The sculpture depicts goddess Aphrodite in the nude, and the figure probably leaned against a pillar which is now lost. Capturing the motion of removing one of her sandals from her left foot, the Aphrodite statuette also encompassed an object on her left hand – possibly an apple which is a known element relating to the Greek goddess. Scholars have additionally put forth their conjecture that the object might have represented a ball of make-up. And beyond just the scope of the statue, the authorities will also look for a vase underneath the water which was reported by the diver who originally discovered the art-piece.

Finally, while the general consensus is that this statuette is a replica of an original work, there are numerous debates concerning the artist or sculptor of that particular ‘masterpiece’. In that regard, some believe that many later statuettes were inspired by a bronze sculpture made during the late third century BC by Polymachos. Other have hypothesized that inspirations were derived from sculptural works of Lysippos and paintings by Apelles. Intriguingly enough, there is also a third school of thought that believes that the original works were conceived in the ancient workshops of Alexandria.

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Via: The Archaeology News Network / Image Credits: ANSA

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