This beautiful reproduction is of a diminutive bronze head of Venus, the goddess of love and desire, in the Museum's antiquities collection. One gold and pearl earring remains in her left earlobe. The head originally was part of a complete statuette of the goddess, which measured approximately twelve inches tall, if she were in an upright pose. However, the hairstyle, as well as the turn of the head toward the right shoulder, suggests that the original pose of the statuette was of a figure bending forward. Statuettes of a nude Venus bending forward to untie one of her sandals or preparing for a bath were popular with the Romans.
A bronze statuette like this one of Venus would have been displayed in a shrine in a private Roman house or dedicated by worshippers in a sanctuary. The addition of pearl earrings to this figure increased its value, thereby suggesting that it was used as a gift to a god. During the Roman Empire, pearls were often dedicated to Venus as part of a religious ritual.