Aphrodite from A to D

More on New York Color coming soon. Meanwhile......

Isis/Aphrodite at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City;
2nd Century A.D., Terracotta, white engobe, paint

I have always loved this little statue of Isis/Aphrodite at the Met. Placed in a vitrine just inside the entrance to the Egyptian wing, she stands naked, arms at her sides, with an elaborate headdress whose implied weight seems to make her posture slump ever so. She was made to represent the fertility of womanhood, and she has done so in full view of strangers over the millennia. She was created about 150 A.D., yet her body, slightly round of belly and full of hip, is one that any contemporary woman can relate to and many would aspire to.

Look familiar?

Standing before it one day, I found myself thinking that she looked somehow familiar. Not in the way of having seen her visage dozens of times in this very vitrine, but in a where-have-I-seen-this-face-before way. The pale skin, the bangs, the long hair with a reddish cast. Then, with crushing disappointment it hit me:


Damn you, Kathy Griffin!

I'm not sure I can ever look at lovely Isis/Aphrodite in the same way again. Even the vitrine text conspires to undercut my viewing experience:

"Isis-Aphrodite is a form of the great goddess Isis that emphasizes the fertility aspects associated with aphrodite. She was concerned with marriage and childbirth . . . Popular already in the third or fourth century B.C., they continued to be made in Roman times. Dating technology places this piece in the Roman Period, probably about A.D. 150, and the long narrow face and rather dry expression do not contradict such a date."

I can only thank the heavens that Winged Nike, goddess of victory, in the Louvre is headless.

Aphrodite of the D-List?



Oly said...

Best... Post... EVER!

I don't think I will ever look at that sculpture the same either, now, Joanne.

My god.

Love it.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks, Oly--
I did think about whether or not to post the images, because once you see the little sculpture in this new light, your experience of it is really changed. Still, I think its power will persevere. It's 2000 years old, after all.

Martin said...

that's funny. you should e-mail this to her.

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