The Venus de Milo at Montastruc

Anonymous (end of the 2nd century BC, during the Hellenistic period). Discovered April 8, 1820 in the island of Melos (Milo).

Paris, Louvre Museum


The Venus de Milo in the Louvre

Material of the original: Paros marble / reproduction material: resin moulded on the original and patina

«After difficult and tumultuous negotiations, the statue was purchased by the Count of Marcellus and brought to France, offered March 1, 1821 to Louis XVIII who donated it to the Louvre»

The Venus de Milo occupies a prominent place in the history of Greek sculpture. Dated circa 100 BC, this original sculpture is a characteristic style of the end of the Hellenistic era that revives classic themes while innovating.

The Venus de Milo is indeed within the tradition of the theme created two centuries earlier by the sculptor Praxiteles. But the master of the Aphrodite of the Louvre was able to free himself from the legacy of the past and emonstrate a creative originality. If the expression on the face retains a somewhat severe coldness, the lively whole body in a twisting motion fits in all dimensions of space. The moving silhouette, with its whirling attitude and its realistic accents well say the genius of the creator of this statue.

It is on the island of Melos (known as Milo), South of the Cyclades, that the statue was accidentally discovered in April 1820 by a peasant, not far from the ruins of a Roman theatre.

Olivier Voutier, a student of marine whose ship was idling in port of the island, noticed the statue and reported it to the French authorities.

Louis Brest, consular officer, and Dumont d’Urville, acting sub-lieutenant, testified of this exceptional discovery to the Marquis de Rivière, Ambassador of France in Constantinople, seat of the Government of the Ottoman Empire, under which rule Greece depended then. At the insistence of the young Embassy-Secretary

Marie-Louis Jean André Charles (alias Lodoïs) de Martin du Tyrac, 4th Count of Marcellus (1795-1861), a diplomatic maritime expedition was organized. Thus, after difficult and tumultuous negotiations, the statue was bought with

other marble fragments by the Count of Marcellus and brought back to France in full ownership. It was presented and offered on 1 March 1821 to the King Louis XVIII, who immediately donated the statue to the Louvre.

Portrait de Lodoïs de Martin du Tyrac, Comte de Marcellus, en 1825 par Ingres

Portrait of Lodoïs de Martin du Tyrac, Count of Marcellus, in 1825 by Ingres

During her trip to France, the statue landed briefly at the Château d’Audour, in Dompierre-les-Ormes, property of the Count of Marcellus.

A first plaster cast was executed by the Louvre before any restoration and was offered to the Count of Marcellus in appreciation. This cast is still exhibited in the Château de Marcellus (lot-et-Garonne).

A resin casting (2.20 m, 110 kg) life-size with patina realized by hand and identical to the original was produced in November 2015 by the workshops of moulding of the Louvre Museum and was offered to Ségolène de Martin du Tyrac de Marcellus, direct descendant of Lodoïs, Count of Marcellus, by her husband Philippe Raynaud de Fitte.

This casting marks in 2016 the thirtieth wedding anniversary of the spouses, who met for the first time at the foot of the Venus in the Château de Marcellus. This remarkable identical new cast is exhibited in their Château de Montastruc (Dordogne).

Since its discovery, the Venus de Milo was universally celebrated, and this pious admiration would never know any eclipse. The German romantic poet Henri Heine (1797-1856) called it “Our-Lady of Beauty”. The sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) praised his “splendid belly, wide as the sea”. The poet Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894) described her as follows: “pure as a strike and a harmony, o Venus, o beauty, white mother of the gods”.