The figure is said to be that of the Venus Esquilina, excavated in Rome in 1874. Although the statue has missing arms, Poynter included them in his painting Diadumenè to show how they might have looked.
Poynter was known for his historical paintings which explore classical or biblical themes and often include female nudes. They brought him wide respect and acclaim as an artist, and towards the end of his career he was appointed director of the National Gallery (1894-1904) and president of the Royal Academy (1896).
However, by the early 20th century Poynter’s art became less relevant to younger artists for whom classical subjects fell out of fashion.
Diadumene by Sir E Poynter P.R.A.
This object is not on display.