Unknown (Italian, 19th century?)
Venus de’Medici (replica)
Marble, c. 99 cm (3’3”) high
Presented by the family of James Purves, 1878; de-accessioned, 1943
Present location unknown

The Uffizi original, a 1st-century BC Roman copy of the Cnidian Venus of Praxitiles, was first recorded in 1638. It was widely admired during the 18th and 19th centuries, and is described by Haskell and Penny as “one of the most copied sculptures of all time.” (The pre-Felton Melbourne collection also included a plaster cast of the Uffizi statue.)

The present statue, a reduced-scale replica, was sold in the 1943 auction of NGV sculpture for £40.

James Purves, whose family donated this work and * Giambologna [after] Rape of the Sabines {1878} Loc? [SC] after his death in 1878, was an early Victorian colonist.

The pose of this figure was often adapted; for an example, see * Halse Advance, Australia 1865 {1891} Loc? [SC].

[comparative photo at right: Uffizi original]

Refs.

AR 1878, p.51; SB p.67 (Statues), including a note of the official de-acquisition in 1943;  NGV 1880, p.2 (under ‘Statuettes’; as measuring 3’3” high, equating to just under a metre);  NGV 1894, p.132 (VI.Rotunda, no.37; NGV 1905, p.154 (VI.Sculpture, no.3)

For the Uffizi statue, which is 1.53 m high, see Haskell & Penny Taste and the Antique (1981), cat.no.89 and fig.174. The plaster cast formerly in Melbourne is catalogued in NGV 1894, p.149 (VIII.Cast Gallery – Antique Room, no.72)