Audio Guide#

Venus,real name Aphrodite (Greek, "Afro-ditee"), is the goddess of pleasure, love, beauty and makin' whoopee (procreation). This ultra-famous statue was found in 1820 on Milos island, Greece, and brought to France for Louis XVIII^, a King SO OBESE^ that he couldn't even get his wheelchair over to see her for months!

Obese Louis XVIII, old Bumblehead cartoon^:

Venus is famous for being famous now, but originally it was because of her beauty, 3D realism, zero arms and the Louvre's great (false) advertising. More on that later. Salvador Dali, the Surrealist, thought she was surreal. He and others were helpless, like moths drawn to candles and "appropriated" her into their own works, like DJs sampling songs. This snowballed and her fame spreads, even today: parodies and use in ads abound (see examples below).

Salvador Dali: Venus with Drawers


Use in advertising:

False advertising: In the 1820s, Venus was exactly what the Louvre badly wanted: a Greek classical work from 400 - 500 BC, probably by the famous Praxiteles, except she WASN'T. She was a bit younger; writing on a broken part of the pedestal showed she was by the famous Alexander of Antioch... but he was from the "inferior" Hellenistic period, from 100 BC (OH NO! the horror!). So the Louvre simply threw away the writing and lied for a while^. She was re-dated after some other giveaways were noticed, such as the way her body is turned and that you can see her buttcrack. Seriously.

The drawing, made when she was found, shows the telltale writing on the pedestal and also that had no arms, contrary to some stories.

The telltale buttcrack:

"Extra! Extra!" (optional)

Venus was sculpted about when Rome expanded and conquered Turkey and Greece and its first armies appeared in Gaul (today's France). Except a little Gaulish village with magic potion, per the legendary Asterix^ comics, translated into 100+ languages^, even Esperanto.

Venus is 2m tall, like a basketball player, and she's stacked: made of two main big blocks of marble. Not the other kind of "stacked."

During WW-II, Venus, Nike of Samothrace, and Michelangelo's Slaves were kept in a chateau for safety. Venus, the goddess of pleasure and procreation, and Nike. With male slaves. Many a dark evening together. You may draw your own conclusions.

The planet Venus: The Romans named planets after their gods, so the brightest one got the goddess of love. Babylonians, with the same idea, named it Ishtar^ for their goddess of love.

See also: Another lady famous for being famous: Mona Lisa, right here in the Louvre.

Trivia: The French bought Venus right under the nose of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II^. Nicholas, the negotiator, was from an important family but that didn't stop the Sultan from executing him later when massive bunches of Greeks were killed, starting the Greek War of Independence.

Total Trivia: The Sultan's mom^ was supposedly Napoleon's^ wife Josephine's^ cousin. You'll never need this information again.

References: Wikipedia, Louvre, Smithsonian Mag ("Base Deception").