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    Interior and sculpture of a bodhisattva in Cave 275 / Cave Temples of Dunhuang
    © The Dunhuang Academy

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        Olympian Census #4: Aphrodite

        Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

        Roman name: Venus

        Employment: Goddess of Love and Beauty

        Place of residence: Mount Olympus

        Parents: Born out of sea foam formed when Uranus’s castrated genitals were thrown into the ocean

        Marital status: Married to Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths, but had many lovers, both immortal and mortal

        Offspring: Aeneas, Cupid, Eros, Harmonia, Hermaphroditos, and more

        Symbol: Dove, swan, and roses

        Special talent: Being beautiful and sexy could never have been easier for this Greek goddess

        Highlights reel:

        • Zeus knew she was trouble when she walked in (Sorry, Taylor Swift) to Mount Olympus for the first time. So Zeus married Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus (Vulcan), forming the perfect “Beauty and the Beast” couple.
        • When Aphrodite and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, both fell in love with the beautiful mortal boy Adonis, Zeus gave Adonis the choice to live with one goddess for 1/3 of the year and the other for 2/3. Adonis chose to live with Aphrodite longer, only to die young.
        • Aphrodite offered Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, to Paris, a Trojan prince, to win the Golden Apple from him over Hera and Athena. She just conveniently forgot the fact that Helen was already married. Oops. Hello, Trojan War!

        Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.


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