From this point on no attempt will be made to preserve a chronological order, but the principal classes of sculpture belonging to the Hellenistic period will be illustrated, each by two or three examples. Religious sculpture may be put first. Here the chief place belongs to the Aphrodite of Melos, called the Venus of Milo.
This statue was found by accident in 1820 on the island of Melos (Milo) near the site of the ancient city. According to the best evidence available, it was lying in the neighborhood of its original pedestal, in a niche of some building. Near it were found a piece of an upper left arm and a left hand holding an apple; of these two fragments the former certainly and perhaps the latter belong to the statue. The prize was bought by M. de Riviere, French ambassador at Constantinople, and presented by him to the French king, Louis XVIII.
The same vessel which conveyed it to France brought some other marble fragments from Melos, including a piece of an inscribed statue- base with an artist's inscription, in characters of the second century B.C. or later. A drawing exists of this fragment, but the object itself has disappeared, and in spite of much acute argumentation it remains uncertain whether it did or did not form a part of the basis of the Aphrodite.
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