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Aphrodite, Eros, & Pan

Aphrodite, Eros, & Pan

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Sculpture of Aphrodite, Eros, and Pan from Delos Island 100 BC, Greece, Europe

National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece: a beautiful sculpture of Aphrodite, Eros, and Pan was found on Delos Island and dates from 100 BC. Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, sexuality, and procreation. She was born of Uranus, or else from parents Zeus and Dione. Her Roman equivalent was Venus. Aphrodite is also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus) after the two cult-sites which claimed her birth. Myrtles, doves, sparrows, horses, and swans are sacred to Aphrodite. Eros was the Greek god of love, whose Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). Some myths make Eros a primordial god, while others say he is the son of Aphrodite. Pan, the companion of the nymphs, is the god of shepherds and flocks, nature, mountain wilds, hunting, rustic music, and theatrical criticism. Pan has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, like a faun or satyr. Pan's homeland of rustic Arcadia associates him with fields, groves, wooded glens, fertility, and the season of spring. In Roman religion and myth, Pan's counterpart was Faunus.

Aphrodite, Eros and Pan

From the Greek Hellenistic Period. Total from front center.

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From the Greek Hellenistic Period. Total from front center.

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Art and Architecture Thesaurus (Getty)

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  • Accession or Local Control No: jgc1218
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc43014


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The licensed images of artworks in this collection supplement artworks in the Visual Resources Collection of the College of Visual Arts + Design's online image database used for instruction, study, and presentation. Included here are images of paintings, drawings, prints, architecture, material culture, sculpture, photographs, furniture, and fashion from a variety of vendors. Access to these images is restricted to the UNT community.

Aphrodite and Eros

Aphrodite is leaning her left elbow on a tree-trunk her left leg, which is not weight-bearing, is close to the right leg but somewhat advanced. The goddess is wearing a thin sleeved chiton, which appears to have slipped from her right shoulder and fits the body so closely that some parts – the stomach and legs, for example – appear to be naked. In an effective contrast to the transparent undergarment, the heavy masses of fabric from her mantle fall on the left to the ground, creating subtle interplay between the light marble and the dark folds of material. Her outstretched left hand perhaps held a pomegranate, while her right hand rested on her hip. Eros is standing on the tree-trunk in a diagonal counter-movement to Aphrodite. His figure is that of a slender youth. His legs crossed, he is nestling on his mother’s shoulder, his right arm on her neck. Aphrodite’s left forearm and left foot as well as Eros’s wings were added in classical antiquity and, like the heads of the two figures, have not been preserved. There is great controversy about dating the statuette. The proposals range from the assumption that it is a Greek original of ca. 400 BC to the supposition that it is a new classicistic sculpture of the 1st century BC. The Greek sculpture on which it was based must have been created in the late 5th century BC by a successor of Phidias and served, particularly in Roman times, as the basis for numerous faithful and modified copies.
© Kurt Gschwantler, Alfred Bernhard-Walcher, Manuela Laubenberger, Georg Plattner, Karoline Zhuber-Okrog, Masterpieces in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2011

Gruppe von Aphrodite, Pan und Eros

Die Gruppe von Aphrodite, Pan und Eros ist eine hellenistische Statuengruppe aus Marmor, die sich heute im Archäologischen Nationalmuseum in Athen befindet.

Die leicht unterlebensgroße, 1,55 Meter hohe Statuengruppe zeigt die nackte griechische Göttin Aphrodite. Sie hat – offenbar für ein Bad – ihre Kleidung bis auf die rechte Sandale abgelegt und auch ihre Haare in Wellen auf dem nach links gewandten Kopf hochgebunden. Das Gewicht lagert auf dem rechten Standbein, das linke Bein ist locker und leicht angewinkelt. Neben der Göttin der Liebe steht seitlich der kleinere Hirten- und Naturgott Pan, wiedergegeben mit zwei langen und spitzen Hörnern, einem mit Fell bedeckten Gesicht sowie felligen Beinen, die in Bockshufen enden. Sein linkes Bein ist bis zum Gesäß mit einer für Marmorskulpturen üblichen Stütze in Form eines Baumstumpfes verbunden. Mit seinem linken Arm greift Pan nach Aphrodites linkem Arm, mit dem sie ihr Geschlecht verdeckt. Der nach links geneigte, dem Zuschauer seitlich zugewandte Kopf blickt zu Aphrodite und zeigt ein breites, lüsternes Lachen. Das Glied ist nicht mehr vorhanden, doch ist anzunehmen, dass es erigiert gezeigt wurde. Auch der muskulöse Körper und die hervorstehenden Venen verdeutlichen die animalische Natur des Gottes. Pan versucht wohl, Aphrodite zu gemeinsamen sexuellen Handlungen zu bewegen, denen diese ablehnend gegenübersteht. Die Göttin scheint von diesem Ansinnen nicht entsetzt zu sein, sie scheint es eher humorvoll aufzunehmen. Sie zeigt keine Anzeichen von Angst, hat aber drohend ihren angewinkelten rechten Arm erhoben, in dem sie ihre zweite Sandale hält. Mit dieser droht sie Pan halb im Ernst, halb im Scherz. Zwischen den beiden Figuren, auf der Höhe der Schulter der Aphrodite und etwas über dem Kopf des Pan, schwebt ein kleiner geflügelter Eros. Er versucht den Bedränger seiner Mutter zurückzudrängen und greift mit seinem linken Arm nach dem rechten Horn des Pan. Die Statue verbindet damit die heroische Nacktheit, repräsentiert durch die Göttin, und die dem entgegen stehende wilde, animalische, dionysische Nacktheit, die Pan verkörpert.

Der rechte Arm der Göttin und der obere Teil des Kopfes sind, ebenso wie die Beine und der linke Arm des Eros, wieder angefügt worden, nachdem sie abgebrochen waren. Der rechte Arm des Eros fehlt. Auch das rechte Bein und die Hörner von Pan mussten wieder angesetzt werden. Drei Finger der linken Hand sowie der Mittelfinger der rechten Hand der Aphrodite wurden modern mit Gips ergänzt. Erhalten ist auch die originale Plinthe und die flache, rechtwinklige Statuenbasis der Gruppe. Auf der Basis findet sich eine griechische Inschrift:

Διονύσιος Ζήνωνος τοῦ Θεοδώρου Βηρύτιος, εὐεργέτης, ὐπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῶν τέκνων, θεοῖς πατρίοις. „Dionysios aus Berytos, Sohn des Zenon und Enkel des Theodoros, (stiftet die Statue) als Wohltäter den angestammten Göttern für sich selbst und seine Kinder.“

Die Statuengruppe aus parischem Marmor wurde 1904 im Haus der Poseidoniasten von Berytos auf der Insel Delos gefunden. Heute befindet sich die Gruppe im Saal 30 des Archäologischen Nationalmuseums in Athen. Die hellenistische Arbeit wird um 100 v. Chr. datiert.

Groupe d'Aphrodite, Pan et Éros

Vous pouvez partager vos connaissances en l’améliorant (comment ?) selon les recommandations des projets correspondants.

Le groupe d'Aphrodite, Pan et Éros est un groupe statuaire en marbre conservé au musée national archéologique d'Athènes, daté des environs de 100 av. J.-C.

Διονύσιος Ζήνωνος τοῦ Θεοδώρου Βηρύτιος, εὐεργέτης, ὐπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῶν τέκνων, θεοῖς πατρίοις
Dionysios aus Berytos, Sohn des Zenon und Enkel des Theodoros, (stiftet die Statue) als Wohltäter den angestammten Göttern für sich selbst und seine Kinder

Le groupe provient de Délos, de l'établissement des Poseidoniastes de Béryte. Il y a été découvert en 1904.

La base comporte l'inscription suivante :

ΔΙΟΝΥΣΙΟΣ ZΗΝΩΝΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟΥ / BΗΡΥΤΙΟΣ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΗΣ ΥΠΕΡ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ / ΚΑΙ ΤΩΝ ΤΕΚΝΩΝ ΘΕΟΙΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΟΙΣ (Dionysios fils de Zénon de Théodoros, originaire de Béryte, bienfaiteur, pour lui-même et ses enfants, aux dieux ancestraux).

Aphrodite’s Children

Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of beauty, passion, and love. Like many of the Greek gods, she was known to have had a complex and often sordid personal life.

According to legend, she had been married to Hephaestus. The beautiful goddess was not happy with her lame and unattractive husband, however, and carried on an affair with Ares during her marriage.

In some sources, Aphrodite had given birth to children during her marriage to Hephaestus. It was understood however that they were not sons of the smith god, a fact which he realized when the affair with Ares was made known to him.

Once the affair was discovered, Hephaestus and Aphrodite ended their marriage. He went on to marry one of the Graces, while Aphrodite continued her relationship with Ares.

The goddess of beauty and the god of war had several children together. As was common in mythology the number and names of these offspring vary according to source, location, and time, but many of the names remain consistent.

Their sons were daimones, minor deities who served as personifications of a single idea. These sons were often associated with one of their parents more than the other.

Two of these were Deimos and Phobos, the personifications of fear and dread. They accompanied their father into battle.

Their other sons formed a group known as the Erotes, representations of specific forms of love. Numbering between three and six, they formed their mother’s retinue.

The most famous son of Aphrodite and Ares was one of the Erotes, and was the only one of them to take on a more prominent role in the hierarchy of Olympus. Eros was the god of romantic love.

Like his brothers, Eros served his mother as a faithful assistant. He shot his arrows to cause men and women, even gods, to fall deeply in love.

Eros often used his powers mischievously, a trait that earned him the particular ire of Zeus after the king of the gods repeatedly fell in love with both goddesses and human women.

He also used his arrows to cause harm, particularly to those who had angered his mother. Under orders from Aphrodite he could cause unfortunate romances between mismatched couples or even cause a beautiful maiden to fall in love with a horrific monster.

This was to be the fate of one princess in a late myth. Instead of piercing Psyche’s heart, however, Eros grazed his own finger and was instead consumed by love for the human girl.

Aphrodite was displeased at the match, as a human wife was of far too low a status for her favorite son. She was usually seen as being especially close and affectionate with Eros, but his love for Psyche angered her so much that she threatened to strip him of his status entirely.

After many trials, however, Zeus allowed Psyche to become a goddess, both out of pity and a hope that marriage would temper Eros’s mischief. Aphrodite’s concerns about her son’s marriage were removed and she became, once more, a doting and loving mother to him.

While Eros was Aphrodite’s most famous son with Ares, she had children by other lovers as well.

She and Hermes had a brief affair that resulted in the birth of Hermaphroditus. The handsome minor god took on both male and female traits, becoming the patron deity of effeminate men and those born intersex.

She was sometimes said to have been the mother of Priapus, whose father was Dionysus. The rustic fertility god was worshipped in Asia Minor but became especially popular in Rome for the pornographic connotations of his cult.

The Romans were also particularly fond of Aphrodite’s only human child. The legendary hero Aeneas was said to have been the founder of Italy as well as the son of Aphrodite.

Because Aphrodite had caused so much trouble by making him fall in love with mortal women, Zeus ordered Eros to inflict the same love on his mother. Aphrodite fell madly in love with a lowly human farmer named Anchisus.

Anchisus was related to King Priam of Troy, so when the Trojan War broke out Aeneas fought on the side of his family. Aphrodite sided with Troy as well, both out of concern for her son and because of her own role in causing Paris and Helen to fall in love with one another.

Zeus had hoped that Aphrodite would learn the pain caused by having a mortal child and seeing them die, but the goddess was determined that her son would not be harmed in the war.

Aphrodite did everything in her power to keep her human son safe during the Trojan War. Despite being a great warrior in his own right, Aeneas was wounded in battle and carried to Pergamon by his mother to heal.

Even Poseidon, who sided with the Greek forces in the war, protected Aeneas from harm. Fate had decreed that the young man would become a king and no god could interfere with such a destiny.

While Aeneas appeared in the Iliad and other Greek works, the Romans expanded on his myth. They believed that the gods had ordered Aeneas to flee after the fall of Troy and he had traveled, in a voyage that paralleled that of Odysseus, to Italy.

There he defeated local tribes and allied with powerful leaders to establish the beginnings of what would be Rome. Some of the Republic’s most powerful families, including the Julii, traced their lineage to Aphrodite’s son.

My Modern Interpretation

Most of Aphrodite’s children were minor gods, daimones, whose names reflected their purpose. These gods typically had few official cults or legends, but were associated with the god or goddess whose domains they most fell under the umbrella of.

These gods were often interpreted as their parents, and myths sometimes sprang up that explained their creation.

Hermaphroditus, for example, was a minor god who probably arose from cultic images of Aphrodite herself. A story was later rationalized to make him the son of her and Hermes, another god associated with fertility and sexuality, to fit his function and existing iconography.

Priapus was similarly linked to Aphrodite and Dionysus. As a rustic god he was associated with the wild retinue of the god of wine, but the figure’s overt eroticism linked him to the goddess of passion and pleasure.

It makes sense, then, for Aphrodite to be the mother of the various types of love as personified by the Erotes. Because of her connection to Ares, she was also assumed to be the mother of the minor war gods that were associated with him.

While Eros could be categorized as a daimone in some ways, he had a much more distinct personality and mythology than most of the minor deities. But, like his siblings, his powers were so closely associated with those of Aphrodite that there was a logical connection between the two.

While Aphrodite and Ares appear to be opposites, representing love and war, their children sometimes reflected the connection between the two as well as the powers of one or the other.

Both love and warfare were categorized by uncontrollable emotions, which were embodied by the children of Aphrodite and Ares. Deimos, for example, could be taken to represent the dread and terror felt by soldiers facing battle or the dread of losing a lover.

The emotions caused by Aphrodite and her children could also incite the wars associated with her partner. Most famously, she led to the Trojan War by causing Paris and Helen, who was already married to a Greek king, to fall in love.

Aphrodite’s only mortal child served a different purpose in later eras. Aeneas as a king continued the tradition of kingdoms tracing their foundations back to the gods.

Most of the great heroes in Greek legends were the children of gods. This served to explain their above-average strength, courage, or intelligence.

Aeneas was not only an exceptional fighter in the Trojan War, but he was marked by his piety. Such attributes would, according to the logic of the Greek world, make him favored by the gods if not the child of one of them.

The Romans chose Aeneas, who had a relatively small role in the Iliad, as the legendary founder of their nation. This was a common practice meant to establish the legitimacy and divine blessing of a kingdom.

The Romans used Aeneas to link their culture to that of Greece and show themselves as heirs to Greek tradition. While they used local names for the gods, they took much of their mythology and cultural tradition directly from Greek sources.

The Romans created an elaborate legend for Aeneas that directly mirrored familiar stories from archaic Greece. They centered this legend around a figure that was favored by the gods and destined to be a great king to further cement their claim to be a legitimate successor to the Greek world.

The Romans also made themselves unique by claiming Aeneas as their ancestor. While many cities and kingdoms claimed to have been founded by sons of Zeus or Poseidon, only Rome could claim descent from Aphrodite as she had only one human child.

Tracing lineage back to a god not only legitimized a state it did the same for powerful families. One of Rome’s oldest patrician families, that of Julius Caesar and by extension the later emperors, claimed direct descent from Aphrodite/Venus through her human son.

Claiming this lineage was a way for the elite to claim their status as divinely ordained. No matter how many generations passed, having the blood of a goddess meant that their status was a reflection of the natural order and was unquestionably justified.

In Summary

Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, had several children according to various sources.

Most of these were children of her famous partner, Ares. The sons of Aphrodite and the god of warfare were daimones, or minor gods who represented a single aspect of life.

In the case of Aphrodite’s children, they represented particular emotions. The Erotes, or types of love, were associated most closely with their mother while others were more negatively associated with their father.

The most famous of the Erotes was Eros, the personification of love itself. Unlike most daimones he had his own myths and a relatively complex characterization.

Aphrodite was also said to be the mother of certain children born to other gods.

Hermaphroditus, the god of androgyny, probably originated from cultic images of Aphrodite but was explained as the son of her and Hermes. Priapus, a rustic god noted for his sexual organs, was the son of Dionysus for his characteristics of hedonism.

Aphrodite’s only mortal son was Aeneas. The hero’s birth was devised by Zeus so that Aphrodite could feel the pain of losing a human child the same way he had so often.

Aeneas was a hero of the Trojan War, in which he was protected by his mother and respected even by opposing gods.

The Romans created a legend in which Aeneas fled west after the war, establishing himself as a ruler in Italy. This founding myth paralleled those of Greek states and allowed the Romans to claim descendancy from Aphrodite.

The connection to a Greek hero also legitimized Rome as a part of the classical world. Through Aphrodite’s son, Rome and its leaders could claim a connection to Greek culture and the gods of Olympus.

Winged Victory of Samothrace, ca. 190 BC

Created for the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, located on the island of Samothrace, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, also known as Nike of Samothrace, is one of the masterpieces of Hellenistic art. Stepping away from the Classical ideals of sculpture –proportioned correctly and static – Hellenistic sculpture veers toward movement, ideally seen in this sculpture. Located at the Louvre in Paris, the stunning piece of art features Nike in motion, with the wind propelling her dress to flow and hug her body. Missing her head and arms – they’ve never been recovered – she stands strong on a pedestal representing the prow of a warship.

Pan, Aphrodite and Eros

Pan and Aphrodite Sculpture of a group including Pan, Aphrodite and flying cherub. Pan is drawing Aphrodite towards him, but Aphrodite is holding her left sandal in her right hand, perhaps to ward off unwanted attention and covering her genitalia with her left hand. Incised line is used to delineate the texture of Pan’s shaggy thighs, hair and horns, as well as the bulge of muscle in Pan’s arms and chest, as well as Aphrodite’s hair and other details of their physical being. The shapes of the figures are idealized versions of feminine beauty – Aphrodite’s full breasts and hips, and well-defined waist — and masculine strength, as well as the sexually undeveloped form of the cherub. These figures are joined where Pan holds Aphrodite’s arm and where the cherub reaches between the major figures, yet there is an eloquent space between these figures created by Aphrodite’s effort to withdraw from Pan’s advances There is only moderate tonal contrast in this monochromatic carving from a pale beige stone, but this is sufficient to clearly define the figures. Repetitive texture defines Pan’s hair and shaggy thighs in this symmetrically balanced composition, where the weight of Pan’s musculature offsets Aphrodite’s height. Our attention is drawn to the contrast between the smooth texture of Aphrodite’s skin and the rough texture of Pan’s legs, horns and hair. The stone from which the figures are carved allows this contrast. Although it not be the only medium which could produce this effect, the stone admirably conveys the intended effect of Aphrodite’s annoyance with Pan’s unwelcome advances.

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Watch the video: Eros and Psyche - The Full Story - Greek Mythology in Comics - See U in History (May 2022).