The Freud Museum

Figure of Venus

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3039, Figure of Venus, 1st - 2nd century AD

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Roman
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: 20.5 x 6.5 x 6 cm

Aphrodite was known as Venus to the Romans. She was the Greek goddess of love and famous for her beauty. Freud's figure is a Roman copy from famous classical Greek Aphrodite.

Here she stands in a relaxed position, her left foot just behind her right. Her head is turned slightly to the left; in her right hand she holds out a strand of her hair, while in her left hand she holds a mirror into which she stares. This Venus, holding a mirror, recalls Freud's notion that women are characterised by narcissism. The woman's cathexis of her whole body and her desire for it to be beautiful, he believed, was an attempt to compensate for the lack of phallus ('Sigmund Freud and Art', 1988).

The number '75' in red paint on her plinth links her to the catalogue Freud started to compile in 1914.


Additional information from Ro Spankie, 2014, 'An Anecdoted Topography of Sigmund Freud's desk'

See this object on our Collections site here 

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