Naked and Unashamed: A Study of the Aphrodite Anadyomene in the Greco-Roman World
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This dissertation presents a study of the Aphrodite Anadyomene type in its cultural and physical contexts. Like many other naked Aphrodites, the Anadyomene was not posed to conceal the body, but with arms raised, naked and unashamed, exposing the goddess' body to the gaze. Depictions of the Aphrodite Anadyomene present the female body as an object to be desired. The Anadyomene offers none of the complicated games of peek-a-boo which pudica Venuses play by shielding their bodies from view. Instead, the goddess offers her body to the viewer's gaze and there is no doubt that we, as viewers, are meant to look, and that our looking should produce desire. As a type, the Anadyomene glorifies the process of the feminine toilette and adornment and as the goddess stands, naked and unashamed, she presents an achievable ideal for the female viewer.
The roots of the iconography of the Anaydyomene can be found in archaic Greek texts such as Hesiod's Theogony and Homeric Hymn from the eighth century B.C.E, as well as in paintings of women bathing on red figure vases from the fifth century B.C.E. The Anadyomene type provides a helpful case study to consider the ways that representations of Aphrodite were utilized. Consulting archaeological reports and detailed studies of display contexts make it possible to reconstruct and imagine the original settings for these kinds of works. The known findspots for representations of the Anadyomene can be grouped into four contexts: Graves, Sanctuaries, Baths and Fountains, and Houses. Small objects might have been seen, handled, and used daily that carried connotations and meanings which these ancient viewers would have brought to other more elite or public works.
DepartmentArt, Art History, and Visual Studies
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