Tuesday, March 9

The unique story of Aphrodite Cnida, the naked goddess who scandalized one city in Ancient Greece, but made another famous

  • Dalia Ventura
  • BBC World News

Detail of engraving of Aphrodite of Cnidos by Claude Randon (1674 - 1704)


The modesty of the goddess of love and sex marked Western art. (Detail of engraving of Aphrodite of Cnidos by Claude Randon 1674 – 1704)

In the 4th century BC Praxiteles, the most famous sculptor in Greece at the time, made something scandalous: a statue of a naked woman.

For more than three and a half centuries, the classical world had become accustomed to seeing the male figure in all its glory, but this was probably the first sculpture of a life-size female figure with nothing to hide her private parts.

The island of Kos had commissioned him a statue of Aphrodite and he had made two: in one version, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and passion was dressed.

In the other, without clothes, with one hand gesturing to try in vain to hide something of her immortal beauty, while the other held some cloth, perhaps a garment or a towel.

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