Here’s Venus, beautifully carved by Roman sculptors in around AD 100-150. She’s stepping out of her bath and looking gorgeous. She was the choice of Mary Beard, one of the guest contributors of The Citi Exhibition Feminine Power: the divine to the demonic. This impressive exhibition at the British Museum provides an opportunity for rarely seen objects, or ones which might not be noticed as boldly whilst on display, a chance to take centre stage.
Clearly, the female human form has been represented across the globe from ancient times to today. Perhaps you could argue that the female has never been more objectified since we now have so many images of perceived beauty and power in female form across our visual and social media.
It’s fascinating to see very early impressions of the female form as a deity and also the fear which women could engender. Were they witches? The image of The Witches Sabbath by Hans Baldung Grion about 1484 conjures and promotes the idea that women can be dangerous. I can’t help wondering whether William Shakespeare might have seen this image and been inspired to introduce the three ‘hags’ into his famous cauldron scene in Macbeth.
All the major religions have female deities and it’s fascinating to see the relics from past civilisations jostle with impressions of female power in a contemporary style.
The show is on until 25th September in the Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery.