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Antonio Canova’s Paolina Borghese as Venus Victorious
Paolina is shown reclining on a pillowed couch in a pose of studied grace, both concentrated and relaxed. The modelling of the nude body is extraordinarily lifelike, while Canova’s treatment of the surface of the marble captures the soft texture of skin. The tactile quality of the piece is bought out particularly in the way the sitter’s own hands are occupied, the fingers of her right connecting ever so lightly with the nape of her neck, offer a gesture charged with seductive promise. The head is raised slightly suggesting that something or someone has suddenly entered her line of vision. The apple she holds in her left hand, her fingers wrapped around it suggestive of erotic touch, identifies her as Venus Victorious, the goddess awarded the Golden Apple of Discord. Hand carved from solid alabaster in Italy and dating from circa.1880-1910. Probably brought back to England by a Victorian upon return from their grand Tour. The piece is very well carved and is very decorative. Sadly she has suffered damage to her big toe and her little finger.
She measures 45.7cms long, 15.3cms wide and 26cms tall. 18 3/4 inches long, 6 inches wide and 10 1/4 inches tall