Hubert Le Sueur (Paris ca. 1580–1660 Paris)
Cast ca. 1641–60
17 7/8 in. (45.4 cm)
Le Sueur was sought after by the kings of France and England for his ability to cast monumental bronze sculpture, and he probably created statuettes while working on these commissions. The Venus is loosely based on large-scale ancient statues depicting the nude goddess shielding herself (Venus pudica). The statuette’s hesitant pose and inward expression heighten the effect of modesty. Viewed from the back, the goddess’s posture emphasizes her ample, sensual grace. King Louis XIV displayed this bronze in his Medals Cabinet. It bears an engraved French royal inventory number above the left ankle.