Even if we are now in late August, here is my ARCHAEO-Crush for the months of May and June. It is one of the most famous works of ancient art at the Musée du Louvre.
VENUS DE MILO
Type: artefact (sculpture)
Civilisation: Hellenistic Greece
Date: circa 100 BCE
ARCHAEO-Crush: For the longest time, I thought the Venus de Milo had been sculpted by ancient Greek artist called Milo–but that is actually not the case. The sculpture is called ‘de Milo’ (of/from Milo) because it was discovered in 1820 on the Greek island of Milos (Milo in modern Greek), by a peasant who was looking for stones to build a wall around his field. We do not know who sculpted this beautiful goddess. Certain elements recall sculptures of the 5th century BCE (her air of aloofness, the harmony of her face and her impassivity), while others–like the hairstyle and delicate modeling of the flesh–are reminescent of sculptural works by Praxiteles (4th century). Despite Classical traits, innovations associated with the Hellenistic Period confirm the date of the sculpture as being a little later.
Although she is called Venus, we do not know for certain that the goddess of love is actually represented. As is the case with many ancient sculptures, she is fragmented and the arms that would hold attributes that would inform the identification of the goddess are missing. The sculpture semi-nudity would favour an identification as Aphrodite/Venus, but it could also be Artemis, a Danaid (one of the 50 daughters of Danaus) or even Amphitrite, the goddess of the sea worshipped on Milos. And so the mystery remains unsolved…
Bucket list status: I actually saw this sculpture twice. The first time, I was walking with a colleague through the galleries on the way to a meeting and I noticed the sculpture from the corner of my eye. I giggled and say, “Oh! I forgot that sculpture was here! I’ll have to come back.” It was on another visit (also rushed) that I was able to take a few minutes to look at the famous Venus de Milo and snap a couple of pictures.
Additional information: You will find more information, including a list of reference to published materials, on the Louvre’s website.
My ARCHAEO-Crush for the first month of 2016 is cutest thing…
Type: organic remains (animal mummy)
Civilisation: Ancient Egypt
Date: no idea (!)
ARCHAEO-Crush: I don’t think an ARCHAEO-Crush can get any cuter than these little cat mummies!!! Aren’t they absolutely adorable? The cat mummies are amongst the many mummies of the Musée du Louvre; however, there isn’t any information about them on the gallery labels or the museum website. Nothing regarding their discovery or their date. Zilch, niet, nada.
What is remarkable about these little mummies is that their legs were wrapped separately from their body and they look like gambolling kittens! That is why they are so, so, so cute! Actually, I had never seen cat mummies wrapped like this before. Usually, they look like the little guys in the picture on the left. You have to admit that the effect is not quite the same! It’s unfortunate not too have any additional information… Animal mummies are generally offerings to the gods or sometimes mummified household pets buried with their owners.
Bucket list status: I saw these cute mummies back in 2012.
Additional information: Since the Louvre does not have any further information about these kitties, there is not much else I can share with you.
Yesterday, I had to check something in the Louvre’s exhibition catalogue Meroe, Empire on the Nile. We got this superb publication a while ago, but I never had the chance to really read any parts of it. So, I sat to read a couple of the essays and imagine my surprise when, in one of them, I saw my book on Amun temples mentioned in the references! (Actually, it’s the book listed on Amazon as having been published in 1850, see the OMG! LOL! post dated February 27.)
In a way, I should not be surprised. My book is indeed relevant to the topic presented in the essay. I guess I’m still early enough in my career to be tickled by having other scholars mention my own work in theirs.
There is a new page in the Photo Diary featuring the spectacular collection at the Musée du Louvre in Paris. To view the pictures, simply hover over Photo Diary and select from the drop-down menu, Musée du Louvre.
The Musée du Louvre and its glass pyramid.