31 January 2015

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Venus of Milos Island in Greece - History of Aphrodite

The History
The statue of Venus of Milos dates back to 150 B.C. from the Greek Hellenistic Age. It was discovered in 1820 on Milos island in Greece, when farmers dug up stones for their houses. A farmer called Theodoros Kentrotas tried to hide the statue in his stone house, but Turkish officials later seized it. The French naval officer, Julius Dumont d'Urville realized its importance and made arrangements to purchase it from Turkey. The Turkish government accepted the offer, out of fear that if they refuse, the French would either steal it, or take it by force. The statue was taken to France by boat and after repair work, was offered to Louis the XVIII. He presented it to the Louvre museum where it can still be seen.

Some less reliable accounts state that the Turkish soldiers never seized it, but the French commander who saw how the farmers dug it up, purchased it from a local farmer called Yorgos. According to the Milos islanders, the stone house on Milos island in Greece is evidence for the truth of the first account 

Who carved Venus?
Alexandros from Antioch carved his artist inscription on the base of the statue. He based his artwork on the statue of Aphrodite from the 4th Century B.C. who held a shield of Ares in both her hands.

A fragment of the forearm and the hand holding an apple was discovered near the larger part of the statue. He thus presented Aphrodite (Venus) as the goddess of the Apple Island, since Milo means “apple” in Greek. Legend has it that Milos was the first person sent to the island by the goddess Venus. It is speculated that Venus of Milos might have held her garment in her other hand.

It was earlier thought to be the work of Praxiteles, but the Alexandros inscription on the now lost podium, was later found. A late 19th century story indicated that the arms were broken of through a struggle among French and Turkish soldiers over the statue. The story was later proved wrong.

How did Venus of Milos become so famous?
France lost the Medici Venus only a few years before the discovery of the statue on Milos island in Greece. Napoleon looted Medici Venus from Italy, but it had to be returned after his downfall. France lost prestige and when they received the statue, they made every effort to promote it as the most valuable Greek art treasure to be discovered. Many books, stories and movies developed around the issue of the lost arms. Hundreds of people have searched for the lost pieces in order to claim the fortune and fame that accompany such a discovery.

The copy of Venus of Milos
A copy of the famous statue is housed in Archeological Museum. The museum is located in Plaka, the capital of Milos island in Greece. The islanders all mourn for the loss of their icon and most of them have little statues of Venus of Milos.

Submitted by: Nick V.

About Today's Contributor
Nick Vitsovits is a passionate photographer and editor for online tourist info guide: Milos

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