Bloom thinks of Greek goddesses, and particularly statues of Venus, as embodying the objects of male desire in ideal proportions. One statue associated with his delectation, in Scylla and Charybdis, is "Venus Kallipyge," whose name means Venus of the Beautiful Buttocks—or, in contemporary American parlance, Venus with the Nice Ass. Mulligan names this work after he encounters Bloom gazing at the backside of a plaster reproduction in the National Museum of Ireland. Thoughts of ancient statuary figure at several other points in the novel, collectively suggesting a different aesthetic than the one propounded by Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

JH 2017

Venus Callipyge or Aphrodite Kallipygos, a white marble statue from the 1st or 2nd century BCE, in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. Photograph uploaded by Enzo1940, 2007. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

4th century BC statue of Narcissus by Praxiteles, held in the MuseoMuseo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. Source: pixgood.com.

Eugen Sandow in a pose imitating The Dying Gaul, a Roman copy of a lost Hellenistic statue, in 1912. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Engraved reproduction of an ancient coin from Knidos displaying the lost Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxitiles, from Paul Carus' Venus of Milo: An Archaeological Study of Woman (1916). Source: Wikimedia Commons.