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The figure of Venus in this sculpture is based on the image of the goddess in a painting by Renoir, 'The Judgement of Paris'. In Greek myth Aphrodite (known to the Romans as Venus) competed for the prize of a golden apple, which she won by promising Paris that he could marry Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world. Renoir's sculpture shows Venus holding the apple in her moment of triumph. Renoir's conception of this work was influenced by memories of antique sculpture and by the 'modern classicism' of the contemporary sculptor Maillol. Severely crippled by arthritis, Renoir was helped in making this sculpture by an assistant, Richard Guino.

August 2004