Reflecting back on my boyhood time in Italy, already a source for ErosBlog material, I came across another memory perhaps worth sharing. Tagging along this time in the Galleria Borghese, where we came across the Venus Victrix of Antonio Canova (1757-1822).

Venus Victrix crop showing nipples

This sculpture is famous in no small measure because the model for it was Paulina Borghese, née Pauline Bonaparte; that is, Napoleon’s younger sister. It would be no exaggeration to say that she had led a rather colorful life.

But that’s not really what stuck in my head. What really stayed in my boyish mind was an apocryphal anecdote told by the accompanying art-history lecturer.

When this sculpture was unveiled, Paulina’s contemporaries were scandalized, of course. One of them was overheard to ask “Paulina, how could you?”

“There was a stove in the room,” was her demure response.