Venus in a Bikini returns to Pompei

Free admission for women
 to Pompeii, Oplontis, Boscoreale and Stabiae

A grand return is happening at Pompeii to celebrate Women’s Day. The beautiful statue of Venus in a bikini, today conserved in the Archaeological Museum of Naples (MANN), returns for one day only to its original location and site of discovery, the domus of the same name.
This initiative has been strongly supported by the Superintendency of Pompeii in agreement with MANN, which in addition to confirming the strong link which binds the two Institutions today, recalls the direct historical connection between them which has existed since the Bourbon age.
The House of Venus in a Bikini, where the statue will be relocated, will be open to the public on an exceptional basis on the day of the 8th March. Indeed, immediately after, stabilisation works will begin in Regions I and II which, as set out by the Great Pompeii Project, will also include the domus and allow its more permanent opening to the public.
Entrance will be permitted to groups of 20 people at a time, and will be supervised at the entrance. No reservation is required.
The fame of the dwelling is thus linked to the discovery of the statuette which depicts Venus untying her sandal, an image characterised by the golden embroidery design of the fabric, which corresponds to the breasts and pubic region (the bikini). Discovered in a closet in one of the rooms of the house (the tablinum), where it had been placed during maintenance works on the domus following the earthquake of AD 62, along with other household effects and precious objects, including golden bracelets and coins. The statue was almost certainly used as an ornament, placed on a pedestal located behind the impluvium (the ornamental basin at the centre of the atrium). The erotic allusions glimpsed in the gesture of Venus determined the statuette’s future home in the Secret Cabinet of the Archaeological Museum, the repository of erotically themed artefacts, where it was transferred after its discovery. Such iconography of the deity, which recurs another two times at Pompeii, seems to have its origins in the Oriental Greek world of the late 3rd century BC, and its fate is documented by the many statuettes recovered in many centres of the Hellenistic East and Egypt.
The image of Venus, goddess of beauty par excellence, on this day is a true tribute to the female figure, which is also expressed within this domus in the many small mythological paintings and not only in the various rooms, which depict women and above all goddesses: Diana and Actaeon, Omphale and Hercules, Thisbe and Pyramus, a Bacchant with Dionysus, a nymph emerging from a reflecting pool in a flowering garden, but also in tondi of female faces.
The modest sized dwelling is the fruit of the division of an earlier property, which probably occurred in the 1st century BC, and was brought to light at the beginning of the 20th century (1913-1952/54). It consists of an atrium with a garden at the rear. All the paintings in the house belong to the decorative phase of the Fourth Style.
In homage to women, there will also be free admission to the archaeological sites of Oplontis, Boscoreale and Stabiae for the day of the 8th March.
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