Johan Niklas Byström and the so-called Venus of Stockholm. New research on a presumably lost sculpture
The inventory books of the Skulpturensammlung (Sculpture Collection) in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections, SKD) mention a plaster cast of a Venus sculpture, moulded from the marble so-called Venus of Stockholm. In the first half of the 19th century this statue—always considered an ancient artwork—had been owned by the Swedish sculptor Johan Niklas Byström, before it was sold to an English art collector. From that time on, the sculpture has been considered lost and it has remained unregarded by research. By contextualizing the Dresden plaster cast with other ancient Venus sculptures and textual sources, this article aims to show that the Venus of Stockholm was most likely an elaborate and mirror-reversed imitation made in its entirety in the 17th or 18th century. As such, the Venus of Stockholm was exceptional, because post-antique mirror-reversed copies of ancient sculptures are very rare. In addition, the article compares the Venus of Stockholm to statues sculpted by Byström, in order to highlight its impact on his oeuvre.
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Christian Klose, ‘Johan Niklas Byström and the so-called Venus of Stockholm. New research on a presumably lost sculpture’, Opuscula. Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome (OpAthRom) 16, Stockholm 2023, 225-247. ISSN: 2000-0898. ISBN: 978-91-977799-5-1. Softcover, 268 pages. https://doi.org/10.30549/opathrom-16-10