Support the news

MFA Show Celebrates The Mighty Aphrodite 04:37
Download

Play
This article is more than 7 years old.

When we think of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, we think of love and beauty. But there is more to her than that. Why, for example, is she so often depicted rising out of a shell? The answer is a very un-lovely story of Aphrodite's creation.

"Statuette of Aphrodite emerging from the sea Greek or Roman," Eastern Mediterranean, Hellenistic or Imperial Period, 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D. Frank B. Bemis Fund.
"Statuette of Aphrodite emerging from the sea Greek or Roman," Eastern Mediterranean, Hellenistic or Imperial Period, 1st century B.C. or 1st century A.D. Frank B. Bemis Fund.

"She is born from the sea, from a very violent episode," explains art scholar Christine Kondoleon. "She's conceived from the droplets of blood after Kronos the titan emasculates his own father. The droplets of blood hit the sea and create foam. And that foam produces Aphrodite."

Kondoleon is the curator of a new exhibition opening Wednesday at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and running through Feb. 20. "Aphrodite and the Gods of Love" features 150 Greek and Roman works of art depicting the goddess and her cult of followers.

The exhibition includes a special audio guide with actors, including Frontline's Will Lyman, reading the work of ancient poets, which correspond to the pieces displayed in the show.

We toured the exhibition with Kondoleon this week to talk about the enormous influence of Aphrodite in the ancient world and today. Click "Listen Now" to hear the tour.

This program aired on October 26, 2011.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news