The Venus of the Medici is so called from its having been in the possession of the princes of that name in Rome when it first attracted attention, about two hundred years ago. An inscription on the base records it to be the work of Cleomenes, an Athenian sculptor of 200 B.C., but the authenticity of the inscription is doubtful. There is a story that the artist was employed by public authority to make a statue exhibiting the perfection of female beauty, and to aid him in his task the most perfect forms the city could supply were furnished him for models. It is this which Thomson alludes to in his "Summer":
"So stands the statue that enchants the world;
So bending tries to veil the matchless boast, The mingled beauties of exulting Greece."
Byron also alludes to this statue. Speaking of the Florence Museum, he says:
"There, too, the goddess loves in stone, and fills
The air around with beauty;" etc.
And in the next stanza,
"Blood, pulse, and breast confirm the Dardan shepherd's prize."
See this last allusion explained in Chapter XXVII.