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Untitled [Still life with a statuette of the Venus de Milo]

A work made of waxed paper negative.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of waxed paper negative.




John Beasley Greene
American, born France, 1832–1856

About this artwork

This work may have served as a training exercise for its photographer, John Beasley Greene, who learned the waxed-paper negative technique in Paris before traveling to Egypt to document archaeological discoveries. Statues were ideal subjects for students in the early days of the art: immobile, they were easy to capture even with the lengthy exposure times then required. In Greene’s time and place, Greek and Roman sculpture were held up as a model of aesthetic perfection, and the Venus de Milo was its exemplar. But this sculpture also attested to France’s rapacious collecting of ancient artifacts in the name of national glory. Greene’s modest study prompts thoughts on originality and reproduction; the sculpture pictured is not the marble one housed in the Musée du Louvre, but a miniature plaster copy, removed one step further from the original by Greene’s photographing it.

For more on John Beasley Greene, see this blog post..


On View, Gallery 1


Photography and Media


John Beasley Greene


Untitled [Still life with a statuette of the Venus de Milo]




Waxed paper negative


31.4 × 24.3 cm (12 3/8 × 9 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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