Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero

The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii

Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero

Venus (Aphrodite)


The goddess of love is undoing her sandal with her left foot supported by the now-damaged wings of a small Cupid. Venus (the Greek Aphrodite) holds an apple in her left hand—the prize for winning the beauty contest in which Paris chooses her over her rival Greek goddesses, Athena and Hera. The apple rests on a statuette of a female figure dressed in a garment rendered in a style that recalls the archaic period in Greece. It is not clear whom this archaic-looking figure represents. She may be the goddess herself, portrayed as an ancient statue in a sanctuary dedicated to her.


Statuette of Venus (Aphrodite) in a "Garden" Setting


The statuette of Venus (Aphrodite) was finely finished on all sides, and parts of the statuette were painted. Traces of paint remain in the goddess’s hair and on some other parts of the sculpture. This view emphasizes the sensuous body of the goddess of sexual love.


Courtyard Fountain and Garden (Viridarium) 16

3D reconstruction

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This courtyard fountain in Villa A (room 16) is adjacent to the grand Oecus (room 15).


Venus (Aphrodite) “Fountain”

Venus (Aphrodite) fountain

Statuette of Aphrodite

Venus (Aphrodite) is shown here on a cylindrical pedestal in the center of a rectangular enclosure meant to evoke a fountain-shrine in a garden. Statuettes of this goddess have been found in similar shrine-like settings in Pompeian gardens. The sculpture from Villa A was found in a storage room off the service courtyard where it was being stored at the time of the eruption. However, in Villa A there are several indoor courtyard gardens where this statuette could have been displayed. The design of her setting in the exhibition is loosely based on one of those courtyard gardens (room 16).

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