Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Israel Museum Displays Ancient Painted Venus Staue

Newsday.com: Israel Museum Displays Ancient Venus Staue: "A centuries-old statue of Venus, headless but vibrant with color and detail, went on display Wednesday at the Israel Museum, a decade after it was discovered in northern Israel.

The life-size marble work represents one of the most important discoveries of Roman sculpture in the world, said James Snyder, director of the museum.

The statue was discovered in 1993 in an ancient bathhouse during an archaeological dig in Beit Shean, a small city near the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. The Hebrew University archeologists who excavated the Venus sculpture uncovered several works also intended to decorate the lavish bathing area, including Dionysus, a goddess Athena, a headless emperor and a nymph.

The flesh-toned pink figure of the Venus strikes a sensuous pose against a back wall as the last exhibit in a long hall of archaeological treasures at the museum.

With locks of hair curling around the collarbone of the headless sculpture, the figure is modeled after a stance called the 'timid Venus,' particularly striking because the sculpture's missing hands reveal parts of her female body that the artist intended to partially hide. A winged Eros as a pudgy child riding a dolphin supports her left leg. "
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