On this day in 1820, the Venus de Milo was rediscovered. I have to admit to being completely ignorant of this. I had just assumed that the sculpture had always been around and that the missing arms were the result of age. But no, the whole thing was lost in a buried niche on the island of Milos in the Aegean Sea. When it was discovered, the left arm was present — although broken. The left left apparently held an apple.
There is a fascinating story of how the Venus de Milo became such a well known piece of art. It was rediscovered five years after France had returned the Venus de’ Medici to Italy (it had been stolen during the reign of Napoleon). It is a greater piece of art, if you ask me. But as with most things in the art world, the greater reputation of the Venus de Milo is the result of a propaganda campaign. France wanted to feel better about the fact that they had lost the Venus de’ Medici. And now we are all supposed to think that it is a great sculpture. And it is — just not uniquely so.
Happy rebirthday Venus de Milo!