We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.
Unknown, Crouching Venus
Unknown, Crouching Venus
Unknown, Crouching Venus
Unknown, Crouching Venus
Unknown, Crouching Venus

Crouching Venus, c.200BC-100BC

After Unknown

RA Collection: Art

This sculpture depicts Venus, classical goddess of love and beauty, surprised while bathing. She crosses her arms in an attempt to conceal her nudity and turns her head away in embarrassment.

The Roman author Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History, describes a statue of Venus washing herself, made by Doidalses and placed in one of the temples of the Portico d’Ottavia in Rome. Many scholars believe this statue to be the source for the many imitations in existence, which include versions in the Louvre, Paris; the Museo Nazionale delle Terme, Rome; the Uffizi, Florence; the Vatican Museums, and the Royal Collection (acquired by Charles I).

This plaster cast in the RA collection most closely resembles the marble in the Vatican Museums, which was excavated at Salone in the eighteenth century (and engraved soon after by Francesco Piranesi). This version differs from others in the positioning of Venus’ fingers, which are outstretched rather than touching her left arm.

Unsurprisingly for a well-known classical sculpture, imitations were also made by contemporary artists, the most famous of which was a marble by Coysevox made in 1686.

Further Reading
Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981), pp.321-3

Object details

Title
Crouching Venus
Cast made by
After Unknown
Date
c.200BC-100BC
Object type
Sculpture Cast
Medium
Plaster
Dimensions

890 mm x 430 mm x 490 mm

Collection
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
03/1484
Acquisition
Given by The Prince Regent 1816 ?
return to start
back

Start exploring the RA Collection

read more
  • Explore art works, paint-smeared palettes, scribbled letters and more...
  • Artists and architects have run the RA for 250 years.
    Our Collection is a record of them.
Start exploring