Cabinet of Venus
The centre of this small octagonal room is occupied by a statue of the splendidly preserved Capitoline Venus, based on the prototype model of the Cnidian Aphrodite by Praxiteles .
The sculpture, slightly over lifesize, was found between 1667 and 1670 near the Basilica of San Vitale, between the Quirinal and the Viminal Hills. It was donated to the Capitoline Museums by Benedict XIV in 1752.
The goddess is depicted naked, in a sensual and modest attitude, with her arms she covers her well proportioned body. The objects flanking the figure, her nudity and hair, allude to the ritual bath of the goddess. It is based on the famous Aphrodite of Praxitiles, which was made for the goddess’ shrine at Knidos. (IV century BC)
The number of copies and variants witness the popularity of the statue in the Roman world. The value attributed to the sculpture is also documented by the discovery of the statue inside an ancient wall: the owner hid it there to defend it from imminent danger.