THE APHRODITE OF FRÉJUS
This is the Roman adaptation of a famous Greek statue of Aphrodite. Tradition holds that it was found in Forum Iulii, a Roman city in today’s France (the modern name Fréjus echoes the ancient one), or in the vicinity of Naples. The Romans must have identified the statue with Venus, the Latin equivalent of Aphrodite, whom they worshipped as their ancestral mother: Venus’s son, Aeneas, was their mythical forebear. The statue delicately portrays the sensual beauty of the goddess. Her transparent dress skims her figure as if it was wet, leaving the left breast bare. The plaster cast is missing the right hand, which held her mantle: she was about to cover her body.