Venus in a gold bikini. An unexpected visitor at the Acropolis Museum.

Venus in a gold bikini. An unexpected visitor at the Acropolis Museum.

The “Venus in a Gold Bikini” brings an erotic twist to the Acropolis Museum as part of a series of exhibitions titled “Temporary and unexpected visitors” that include artwork loaned from other world museums. These periodic exhibits will add something fun and frequently spectacular to the museum’s story of antiquity.

The Acropolis Museum is the world famous home of archaeological finds from the Acropolis itself, including the almost complete (but not quite) set of Parthenon Marbles. Among the 30 most visited museums in the world, the collections exclusively tell the story of Athenian antiquity with incredible examples of sculpture from prehistory to the present.

There’s more than Athens to antiquity, and at the same time, the city reverberated throughout the ancient world. Last year, the Museum focused on the intellectual contribution of female poets in antiquity through the works of two wonderful modern Greek artistsm, Lena Platonos and performed by Maria Farantouri.

This year’s unexpected visitor is the sculpture “Venus in a gold bikini” from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The sculpture captivates us, the museum tells us “with the peerless pulchritude of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, to whom Paris, as a judge of three goddesses, offered the apple of discord to the Fairest of them all, the fairest of form among the three.” In other words, it reminds us of the complexity of describing the world of the gods.

This sculpture is particularly erotic as well as exotic. She seems to be wearing gold under garments, perhaps a reference to the “golden Aphrodite” of Homer’s Iliad book 9, 389: “not though she vied in beauty with golden Aphrodite…” It’s also possible that the building in Pompeii in which the sculpture was found was in use as a brothel.

The artwork will be displayed in the Museum ground floor from 8 March until 28 May 2023.

Entrance to the Museum ground floor is free. A video will be on display and a free bilingual explanatory leaflet will be available for visitors.

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