On the beauty of broken statues.
You know of her, even if you haven’t seen her: The Venus de Milo, Aphrodite of Milos. She’s sculpted from marble, and her name alone speaks of a divine beauty unparalleled by anything mortal. And yet this most famous Venus is broken beyond repair: Both her arms are missing.
As with many celebrated classical statues, our appreciation of the Venus de Milo is shaped by loss. The American writer Charles Fort explained, “To a child she is ugly. When a mind adjusts to thinking of her as a completeness, even though, by physiologic standards, incomplete, she is beautiful.” For archaeologists and historians, these incomplete masterpieces are a puzzle to be solved: Reconstructions of the Venus de Milo suggest her arms were in motion, holding a spinner with a
Artwork:Eye, Nose and Cheek, F.E. McWilliam, 1939
This story appears in a print issue of Kinfolk. You’re welcome to read three stories from each print issue of Kinfolk for free. To continue reading this story, click here.
If you'd like to enjoy unlimited access to our online archive, subscribe here. If you’re already a subscriber, please sign in.
Alternatively, keep browsing Kinfolk.com to enjoy more free content.