Ludovisi Throne

Of the many fascinating, strange and dramatic objects in the Museum of Classical Archaeology I think the most beautiful is the relief on the Ludovisi Throne.  Probably originally part of an altar, its subject is thought to be the birth of Aphrodite. According to the myth, the goddess was born from sea foam on the beaches of Cyprus – Aphrodite’s attendants are shown standing on pebbles. However, according to the Museum’s catalogue: ‘the depiction of the birth of Aphrodite is a rare, if not unique subject in Classical art, so we cannot be sure. To show female figures semi-nude was then also unprecedented in large-scale Greek sculpture.’  The Throne was carved from Parian marble around 460 BCE; it was found in 1887 at the Villa Ludovisi, Rome. Photo: Ludovisi Throne, University of Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology, February 2019

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