Aphrodite of Cnidus
Favorite thing: The Aphrodite of Cnidus was one of the most famous works of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles of Athens (4th century BC). It and its copies are often referred to as the Venus Pudica (modest Venus) type, on account of her covering her groin with her right hand. Variants of the Venus Pudica (suggesting an action to cover the breasts) are the Venus de' Medici or the Capitoline Venus.
The statue became famous for its beauty, meant to be appreciated from every angle, and for being the first life-size representation of the nude female form. It depicted the goddess Aphrodite as she prepared for the ritual bath that restored her purity (not virginity), discarding her drapery in her left hand, while modestly shielding her genitals with her right hand. At first glance it may appear where her hand is placed is a gesture of modesty, but in all actuality it only emphasizes her nudity.
According to a possibly apocryphal account by Pliny, Praxiteles received a commission from the citizens of Kos for a statue of the goddess Aphrodite. Praxiteles then created two versions—one fully draped, and the other completely nude. The shocked citizens of Kos rejected the nude statue and purchased the draped version. The design and appearance of the draped version is today unknown as it didn't survive, nor did it appear to have merited attention, to judge from the lack of surviving accounts.
The rejected nude was purchased by some citizens of Knidos and set up in an open air temple that permitted viewing of the statue from all sides. It quickly became one of the most famous works by Praxiteles for the bold depiction of Aphrodite as proudly nude.
Engraving of a coin from Knidos showing the Aphrodite of Cnidus, by Praxiteles...Praxiteles was alleged to have used the courtesan Phryne as a model for the statue, which added to the gossip surrounding its origin. The statue became so widely known and copied that in a humorous anecdote the goddess Aphrodite herself came to Knidos to see it, and asked "Alas, where did Praxiteles see me naked?"
Fondest memory: The statue became a tourist attraction in spite of being a cult image and patron of the Knidians. Nicomedes I of Bithynia offered to pay off the enormous debts of the city of Knidos in exchange for the statue, but the Knidians rejected his offer. The tradition—apparently prompted by a stain in the marble on the rear of one thigh—that the statue was so lifelike that a young man secreted himself in the cella at night and attempted to copulate with it is recorded in the dialogue Erotes (section 15), traditionally misattributed to Lucian of Samosata. The dialogue offers the fullest literary description of the temenos of Aphrodite at Knidos
Favorite thing: I haven't seen much about the town except the surroundings of the harbour (I'd hardly call it a marina).
The place is rather quiet, if you stay in the harbour, simply make sure not to throw your anchor in front of the two clubs, just as we did...
They are rather noisy and at the time we were there, not really good...
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