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Seated Venus, known as Agrippina
2nd century AD
H. 93 cm ; W. 118 cm ; D. 48 cm
Acquired by Rodin from the antiquarian Gaston Neumans on 9 April 1909.
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Wearing a long tunic and a cloak, the woman here is represented seated on a high-backed chair. A similar statue in the Capitoline Museum, Rome, was given the name Agrippina in the 17th century. The work is also known as Seated Aphrodite, the title of the original Greek statue carved by Phidias, in the 5th century BC.
Replicas of this statue made in the Roman period were used as honorary or funerary portraits of women.Rodin purchased the statue in 1909 and exhibited it under the peristyle of the Pavillon de l’Alma, in Meudon, as an introduction to his own plaster sculptures.
Nearby, to create a mirror effect, he placed his torso of Cybele, which had been enlarged in 1904, another partially seated, headless figure, with her only arm pointing to the ground.
In the present figure, as on the ancient statue mutilated by time, Rodin refused to include any attribute that would help identify the woman. Only the mythological title of the work enables us to ascribe it to a tradition.