Aphrodite of Milos, better known as the Venus de Milo, is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BCE, it is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans). It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. The arms and original plinth were lost following its discovery. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch; earlier, it was mistakenly attributed to the master sculptor Praxiteles. It is currently on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The statue is named after the Greek island of Milos, where it was discovered.
The Aphrodite of Milos is widely renowned for the mystery of her missing arms. There is a filled hole below her right breast that originally contained a metal tenon that would have supported the separately carved right arm. The Aphrodite of Milos was discovered on 8 April 1820 by a peasant named Yorgos Kentrotas, inside a buried niche within the ancient city ruins of Milos, the current village of Tripiti, on the island of Milos (also Melos, or Milo) in the Aegean, which was then a part of the Ottoman Empire. Elsewhere the discoverers are identified as Yorgos Bottonis and his son Antonio. Carus gave the site of discovery as "the ruins of an ancient theater in the vicinity of Castro, the capital of the island", adding that Bottonis and his son "came accidentally across a small underground cave, carefully covered with a heavy slab and concealed, which contained a fine marble statue in two pieces, together with several other marble fragments. This happened in February, 1820". He apparently based these assertions on an article he had come across in the Century Magazine, 1881, Vol. I, p. 99. Notwithstanding these anomalies the consensus is that the statue was found in two large pieces (the upper torso and the lower draped legs) along with several herms (pillars topped with heads), fragments of the upper left arm and left hand holding an apple, and an inscribed plinth. Olivier Voutier, a French naval officer, was exploring the island. With the help of the young farmer, Voutier began to dig around what were clearly ancient ruins. Within a few hours Voutier had uncovered Venus de Milo. About ten days later, another French naval officer, Jules Dumont d'Urville, recognized its significance and arranged for a purchase by the French ambassador to Turkey, Charles-François de Riffardeau, marquis, later duc de Rivière.
Venus de Milo