This week’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble statue of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, crouching at her bath. The original was made in the 3rd century BC and was representing Aphrodite surprised in her bath, with her arms covering herself.
Aphrodite crouches with her right knee close to the ground, turns her head to the right and, in most versions, reaches her right arm over to her left shoulder to cover her breasts. The style was often copied with many variations; in the Aphrodite Accroupie in the Louvre, her right arm is raised behind her head while in the Crouching Aphrodite discovered in Rhodes, she is depicted arranging her hair, thus openly displaying her breasts.
While far from the being complete, this Aphrodite from Hadrian’s Villa is considered as one of the finest of the Roman versions.
This type of Aphrodite was a favorite in the decoration of fountains and baths. This particular one comes from one of the villa’s buildings used for this purpose, the so-called Heliocaminus Baths.
This statue is on display at the National Roman Museum – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome.