Lo Dolce Lume

Antonio Canova - Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix (1805-1808) Villa Borghese, Rome.

The statue depicting Pauline Bonaparte as “Venus Victrix” (Venus the Conqueror) was commissioned by her husband, Prince Camillo Borghese, shortly after the couple arrived in Rome in 1804. The statue of Pauline, one of his most famous works, was notable for the shocking near-nudity of its subject as well as for its elegance and artistry. Pauline is depicted as the Roman goddess of love, Venus, holding in her hand the apple which marked her as the winner in the divine beauty contest known as the Judgment of Paris

The finished statue was delivered first to Turin (where Camillo was serving as Governor-General under Napoleon). Following Napoleon’s defeat, it made its way back to Rome and after Camillo’s death was eventually put on display at the Villa Borghese.