Venus, Aphrodite… whether Greek or Roman, the goddess has lost none of her charms, expressed in marble through sensual forms and clinging drapes.
Despite the passing of the centuries, this Venus retained all her powers of seduction, and several collectors fought for her favours before one of them finally carried her off at €416,000. This splendid result confirmed the fine performance of objects from traditional Antiquity in today's market. Greek sculptors created naturalistic statuary, but by copiously copying their works the Romans disseminated it throughout the Empire, leaving numerous tributes to it that can still be seen today. This Venus Genetrix in white marble from the collection of Georges Charbonneaux (1865-1933; an industrialist and philanthropist of Reims and an eclectic, active collector) was missing the top left part of her body, including the breast left bare by the chiton, and her head. But in the end, these losses in no way detracted from her natural beauty. Various antique artefacts were paraded alongside the lovely lady, including a marble draped bust of Prince Annius Verus (162-171), son of the emperor Marcus Aurelius and Faustina, whose childish face moved bidders to go up to €19,505, and, going back still further in time, a flint pickaxe from the Neolithic Campignian tradition found in northern France (€11,705). This slender stone was a reminder of how far 20th-century artists were inspired by prehistory: an approach now being brilliantly explored by the Centre Pompidou Paris.