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Torso of Venus

Photo credit: The Henry Barber Trust, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

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This fragment is based on a life-size prototype dating from the fourth century BC by the great Greek master Praxiteles (c.400 BC–330 BC). He is credited as the first artist to fashion a monumental image of Aphrodite nude. The original, now lost (it stood at the port city of Knidos), was acclaimed by the Roman author Pliny as the finest sculpture ‘not only by Praxiteles but in the whole world’. It represented Venus, the goddess of love and beauty (her Greek equivalent was Aphrodite), and is known today through ancient descriptions and numerous copies in diverse media.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts



Torso of Venus


1st C AD




H 58.4 x W (?) x D (?) cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased at Sotheby's, 1940

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TS England

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