The head depicts Aphrodite, the most beautiful goddess. Her hair is tied with a long ribbon, and pulled into a bun at the top of her head, except for two longer tresses on the shoulders. The head follows the tradition of 4th-century BC Greek sculpture. It is modelled after a statue by Praxiteles (ca. 370–320 BC), the Aphrodite of Knidos. Praxiteles was the first to sculpt the goddess naked, who – upon seeing the statue – is said by one Greek poet to have exclaimed: “Alas! Where did Praxiteles see me naked?”
Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the statue was made of Thasian marble. Click here for the detailed results.