When it comes to choosing statues or figures to decorate our garden, it is not easy due to the great variety of themes and models that exist.
Classically inspired sculptures always give a touch of distinction to any space, but when it is a garden, it becomes a magical place, capable of transporting us to other times and states of consciousness. Beautiful statues of goddesses such as Venus and Diana can accompany us and lead us to a state of contemplation when we discover them among the vegetation, during our walks, or when we sit in a particularly quiet and serene corner.
These three sculptures that we present today are ideal for decorating outdoor spaces such as gardens and terraces. They are three statues that reproduce, in almost real size, Greek and Roman sculptures: the iconic Venus of Milo, the Venus of Frejus and the Diana of Gabies, the latter two perhaps not as well known and popular as the first one, but which are just as suggestive.
We begin with the famous Venus de Milo, whose armless torso has inspired a multitude of artists, becoming an icon of Pop Art by artists of the last two centuries such as Andy Warhol, and passing into the popular imagination, without losing its status as one of the images of the Beauty of Classical Greek Art.
Also known as Aphrodite of Milos, after the Greek island where she was found in 1820 by a peasant named Yorgos Kendrotas. It was sold to France and taken to the Louvre, where it can still be seen today. It is not known who the author of this statue was, but it is usually attributed to the sculptor Alexander of Antioch. In terms of style, it fits in with a late Hellenism characterised by a return to the classical models of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the author possibly taking his inspiration from a work by Lysippus, the Aphrodite of Capua.
The original position of the missing arms of the Venus will always remain a mystery.
In 1650 a statue of Venus, 1.64 metres high, was discovered in the French town of Fréjus and is now in the Louvre Museum. It was a 1st century Roman copy of a famous 5th century BC Greek bronze sculpture by the Athenian artist Callimachus, described by the Roman writer Pliny in his Natural History as holding the apple of the Judgement of Paris in one hand and covering her head with the mantle or chiton in the other.
After Julius Caesar attributed the ancestry of his family Julia to the goddess Venus, the cult of this goddess spread especially as protector of the first imperial dynasty and of Rome itself, and copies of original Greek statues of Aphrodite multiplied, destined both for worship in the temples dedicated to her and to adorn the gardens of the palaces and villas of wealthy Romans.
Finally, we bring to our gardens the figure of the Diana of Gabies or Gabios, named after the place where it was found, on the property of Prince Borghese, of whose collection it formed part until it was sold to Napoleon in 1807. In 1820 the sculpture was transferred to the Louvre, where it can be seen today.
Some attribute it to Praxiteles, and although it is identified in the style of the Athenian sculptor, it is usually framed within the Hellenistic trend. Artemis, goddess of the moon, virgin nature and hunting, is shown wearing a short cloak or chiton, a typical garment in which she appears in other representations such as the Diana of Versailles.
These three statues, these goddesses, seem to invite us to enjoy their contemplation, especially when they are surrounded by natural elements. A garden, when inhabited by these figures, by works of universal art, becomes a special place full of harmony, a corner illuminated by Beauty. Perhaps for this reason they have been used as sculptures to decorate gardens since ancient Greece, in Roman courtyards or in neoclassical and romantic gardens of the 18th and 19th centuries.