This figure is familiar to every one from the innumerable copies of it. The original is in the Tribuna of the Uffizi, at Florence. It was found in the fifteenth century, and taken to Venice, during the reign of Cosmos III, a member of the powerful de Medicis family, in whose honor it was named. It is only four feet high. When found it was broken in thirteen different places, and the arms were gone. As the fractures were regular, it was readily put together; but the artist who restored the arms imparted to the position of the hands a prudish affectation, which impairs the effect of the figure. An inscription on the base says that this statue was executed by Cleomenes the Elder, an Athenian of the decadence period. Few marbles have been so extravagantly praised, and it is certainly admirable, as Lubke says, for the softness of its treatment, for the harmonious rhythm of its lines, and for the delicate beauty of the slender, youthful form, recognized as a perfect model of the female figure; but it lacks the nobility of earlier sculptures, and is not to be compared with the armless, half draped Venus of Milo in respect to the higher qualities of Art. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who had previously seen little and thought little of Art, was enchanted with this Medicean Venus on first seeing it; but confessed later to an abatement of his enthusiasm. [Pp. 9-10.]
Fifth Exhibition, 1873-1874. San Francisco Art Association Catalogue. Price, 25 cts.