The Topkapi Palace is the biggest and one of the most popular sites to visit in Istanbul. It was built in between 1466 and 1478 by the sultan Mehmet II on top of a hill in a small peninsula, dominating the Golden Horn to the north, the Sea of Marmara to the south, and the Bosphorus strait to the north east, with great views of the Asian side as well. The palace was the political center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, until they built Dolmabahce Palace by the waterside. The palace was opened to the public as a museum in 1924 by the order of Ataturk. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum consists of three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Tiled Pavilion Museum or Museum of Islamic Art. The three museums house over one million objects that represent almost all the eras and civilisations in world history. As part of the core collection, on the second floor, they have spectacular collection of Greco-Roman sculpture from the 6th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. Since almost all the important eras of sculpture in this time period were on display, I have compiled a history of Greek and Roman Sculpture.
“Venus figurine” is an umbrella term for a number of prehistoric statuettes of women portrayed with similar physical attributes. “Venus figurine” is the name given to a nearly universal type of art, appearing first in the Upper Paleolithic period between 31,000 and 9,000 years ago. Archaeologically they are known from the earliest horizons of the Aurignacian (37,000 to 27,000 years ago) and extend to the end of the Magdalenian (17,000 to 12,000 years ago). Venus figurines have been found in Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, and as far east as Lake Baikal in Siberia. In appearance most are plump little creatures with exaggerated female characteristics: large breasts, thighs and buttocks. These figurines were carved from soft stone (such as steatite, calcite or limestone), bone or ivory, or formed with clay and fired. Most of them are roughly diamond-shaped, with two tapering terminals at top (head) and bottom (legs) and the widest point in the middle (hips/belly). Although the typical Venus figurine is traditionally assumed to be a voluptuous female, men, children, and animals are also depicted. Venus figurines have been found throughout Europe and Asia at sites such as Willendorf (Austria), Brassempouy (France), Hohle Fels (Germany) and Dolni Vestonice (Czech Republic). There are many different interpretations of the figurines, but like many prehistoric artifacts, the cultural meaning of these artifacts may never be known. The Venus of Brassempouy or La Dame de Brassempouy, a fragmentary ivory figurine from the Upper Palaeolithic discovered in the Grotte du Pape at Brassempouy, France in 1892, by Édouard Piette, is one of the earliest known realistic representations of a human face.