Aphrodite admiring herself in a mirror
Hand patinated reproduction. Mold made from a print of the original work.
It was during the 4th century B.C. that the sculptor Praxiteles dared to represent Aphrodite, the goddess of Love. His masterpiece, the famous Aphrodite of Cnidos (of which a large number of copies and innumerable adaptations exist) left a great influence on sculptural creation. It is such that bronze workers from the Hellenistic period treated the female nude in thousands of variations, rivalling one another in grace and invention. The statue of Aphrodite admiring herself in a mirror - held in her right hand - represents one of the most charming fantasias born of this creative imagination. In casting the object, the bronze artist obeyed the principles of balance governing the equilibrium and proportion of the figure since the work of Polykletes ; there is a clear distinction between the left leg supporting the weight and the freestanding right leg.
The body is defined by the rhythmic effects of counterbalancing : the inclination of the shoulders is taken up by the sway of the hips, and the right foot is pointed in opposition to the tilt of the head. In addition, the manneristic gesture of the two arms softens and elongates the silhouette, describing in this way a lightweight figure that gives the impression of occupying a harmonious space of its own. The freedom in the hair treatment and the sensuality realized in the mouth are characteristic of the Hellenistic period. However, the artist has omitted masterpieces from the Classical 4th century, opting to model a figure whose feminity is conveyed by the smoothness of its surfaces rather than by an abundance of volumes.