Philbrook opens 'Aphrodite and the Gods of Love' exhibit
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Sunday, March 10, 2013
3/10/13 at 4:46 AM
Aphrodite is usually referred to as the "goddess of love" in Greek mythology. But in the ancient world, the idea of love encompassed a lot more than simple romance.
On Sunday, Philbrook Museum of Art opens what has been billed as the first museum exhibit devoted to the subject of the ancient world's "goddess of love."
"Aphrodite and the Gods of Love" was created by the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and it includes more than 120 examples of sculpture, ceramic, jewelry and other artifacts from U.S. and European collections, including some objects that have never been exhibited in the U.S. before.
When the exhibit was on display at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles last year, a critic for the Los Angeles Times described it as "a rich and sometimes head-turning mix of sex and violence. ... (A) visitor is likely to come away with a far less sentimental picture of Aphrodite than the one pop culture cranks out."
That pop-culture portrait of unattainable beauty hardly begins to describe the multifaceted character of Aphrodite - or Venus, as she was known among the ancient Romans. Besides the well-known attributes of beauty and sexuality, Aphrodite was also the patroness of seafarers and warriors, and she was thought to bring about political harmony among gods and mortals.
Little wonder that she was the subject of works of art created over a span of more than 5,000 years.
Original Print Headline: Philbrook's 'Gods of Love' exhibit opens
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Head of Aphrodite (The Bartlett Head), about 330-300 B.C. Unknown artist. Parian marble. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Courtesy
Statuette of Aphrodite emerging from the sea. Greek or Roman, Eastern Mediterranean, Hellenistic or Imperial Period, 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D. Marble. Probably from the Greek island of Paros. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Courtesy