The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

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SickNotes
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The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby SickNotes » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:49 am

Hello. This is my first post on the board. I have just finished watching Twin Peaks season 1 and season 2 and FWWM. I have seen them before, but this is the first time I've looked at them with a critical eye. I am re-watching them on another board unrelated to Twin Peaks. World of Blue was the first forum that came up when doing a google search for Twin Peaks forums specifically. So, I thought this information would be good to note here even though I already noted it there. Any thoughts are appreciated.

I was doing a little research on the statues in the Black Lodge/Waiting Room. It took me a while to find the specific statue because I have intentionally been staying away from forum pages until I finished watching through the series. I wanted to draw my own conclusions on some stuff before reading other people's theories who are steeped further in the world than I.

I am the first person to admit that David Lynch has a love of the inscrutable. In other words, deconstructing his work tends to lead down a rabbit hole which can sometimes detract from admiring the emotional force of his imagery. Basically, I feel you don't have to "get it" to love it.

However, I have always been struck by the Venus statues in the Black Lodge/Waiting Room. It is worth mentioning the statue we see in Dale Cooper's first dream sequence in the episode (Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer) is Venus de Medici (not Venus de Milo.) I believe others on this forum have made this same distinction. They are two different works. The reason I think it is interesting to explore this further is because both statues de Medici and de Milo are featured in the show.

The Venus de Medici wikipedia page is here

Venus is the Roman version of the Greek god Aphrodite whose reference is here here

You could spend a great deal of time analyzing the metaphors and whatnot from the mythology. I think the important parts are these (if we assume the statue is a comment on Laura Palmer or at least the things the Black Lodge idealizes):

Venus is the Roman name for the Greek god Aphrodite: the goddess of love and desire:
"Aphrodite is consistently portrayed, in every image and story, as having had no childhood, and instead being born as a nubile, infinitely desirable adult." (Laura is sexualized from an early age and robbed of her childhood)
She is ordered to marry an ugly God. (Could be read as BOB)
She is unfaithful and has many lovers. (Laura does)

I am sure there are other things that can be said about this and would love to hear if anyone has any other stuff to say.

During the last episode of the second season, we are presented with the Venus de Milo. The interesting thing to mention about these two statues is that they represent two different periods of Venus's mythology. The Venus de Medici which is present from the beginning of the Black Lodge imagery is supposedly Venus emerging from the foam of the sea. She is unclothed. This is the same "birth" scene which the famous painting The Birth of Venus by Botticelli records.

The Venus de Milo, in contrast, is a depiction of another story. She is classically displayed without arms, but according to the de Milo wikipedia page, she does have a left arm and it holds an apple. This means that the Venus de Milo statue (though it holds no apple in the Twin Peaks episode) represents The Judgement of Paris. Basically, Aphrodite won an Apple of Discord by promising Paris the hand of Helen of Troy who was already betrothed. This set about the events of the Trojan war. That Aphrodite set a lot of things in motion.

Again, this all seems to go a little far down the rabbit hole; however, it is interesting to note that the creators chose the less well known Venus as introduction, then moved to the Venus de Milo in a different part of the Lodge during the last episode. I am interested if this information has been expressed before or in what way it should be interpreted if at all.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:00 am

First off, welcome to Dugpa! I've been enjoying your contributions to the IdleThumbs forum and am glad you've found your way here. This is my favorite Twin Peaks forum, by far, and so many of the conversations I've had here have informed my own take on the series and film.

The Venus thing is fascinating and I don't totally know what to make of it, though one thought occurs (and it may just be a synchronicity rather than intention, since Lynch works off the subconscious). If the Venus presented in the finale is the Venus of Judgment - a harsh judgement against someone for going against the natural order - it makes sense. Lynch at this point was frustrated and disappointed with the direction the show had gone in. It's worth noting that this reading can be taken too far - after all, it was not Lynch but the Peyton/Engels/Frost-written script that punishes the town so harshly and imprisons Cooper with Bob (indeed, Lynch added the diner scene, which is one of the few happy moments in the finale). Nonetheless, there is a feeling of anger evident in the finale and especially in FWWM: maybe best depicted by the doppelganger Laura screaming in Cooper's face in the Black Lodge. The way I've put it in the past - discussing the decline the show took after Laura and the Palmers and their mystery were written out of the series - is "Laura is an angry goddess when spurned." So to me, this connection is fascinating.
SickNotes
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby SickNotes » Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:37 am

Thanks for this reading. I like that idea of it being a comment on the production from the creators.

It could very well be that Lynch and Frost just wanted a more vertical statue for the space, as well? Haha.

I assume that in these forums spoiler blocks aren't necessary...that is until they start putting out the new episodes.
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby Rami Airola » Sat Nov 15, 2014 6:24 pm

Back in the Twin Peaks Gazette forum I tried to connect the Venus de Milo statue to Annie. I got nowhere with that thought, but perhaps you are interested in taking a look at that thread:
http://www.twinpeaksgazette.com/communi ... 0.cfm.html
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:02 pm

Just re-reading Christy Desmet's essay, The Canonization of Laura Palmer, and she has an interesting passage on the significance of the two Medicis in the Red Room/Black Lodge. Not sure if you're still receiving updates on this thread but here's a link to the page (106) on Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=m6mju ... us&f=false
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BOB1
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby BOB1 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 5:06 pm

I've been wondering around Twin Peaks universe for almost 25 years and I've never before come across the idea of Venus (whichever, Milo or Medici) somehow representing Laura (as robbed of her childhood, having many lovers etc.). And I find it truly great!
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:07 pm

BOB1 wrote:I've been wondering around Twin Peaks universe for almost 25 years and I've never before come across the idea of Venus (whichever, Milo or Medici) somehow representing Laura (as robbed of her childhood, having many lovers etc.). And I find it truly great!


It's a very interesting essay. I find parts of it to be way off-base and others to be right-on, sometimes both at once. For example when she writes that Laura becomes Ronette's guardian angel, she seems to mean that it is literally Laura who appears in white robes both in the train car and the Red Room (which suggests she probably should have watched the movie again before writing her piece - not are the angels not played by Sheryl Lee, they are played by different actresses!). Nonetheless, the poetic concept of Laura as Ronette's guardian angel leads in all kinds of interesting directions; for me it makes sense of the climax in a way no other idea has.
Si78
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby Si78 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:07 pm

I've always thought the babe without the arms represented Shelly! ;)
mukuro
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby mukuro » Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:59 pm

I find it interesting that you talk about Venus De Milo's left arm holding the "apple of discord". It draws a parallel between Venus and Laura in the sense that they both were responsible for creating discord around them. Donna complains of this in one of the early episodes: "we are still dealing with your problems"(rough paraphrase). Secondly, it hints at her alliance with the one armed man, whose devilish tattoo was on his left arm. Again, he shares the aesthetic of having missing limbs with the statue. Laura also shares this similarity in a way in the dream in the third episode when she refers to her arms bending back. During that dream, the venus is still the Venus De Medici version with modesty. The bending back of the arms could likewise be seen as the loss of innocence or modesty. I know that Cooper claims this reference was to her being tied up, but that seems far too insignificant an explication to merit mention in the black lodge.

That critical approach to Twin Peaks looks interesting, I might have to buy!
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby LostInTheMovies » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:21 pm

mukuro wrote:That critical approach to Twin Peaks looks interesting, I might have to buy!


It's a great read, and is actually what got me back into Twin Peaks last year, several months before the deleted scenes (let alone the new series!) had been announced. I guess something was in the air.
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Re: The Venus Statues and Their Meanings

Postby Aqua » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:21 pm

Have not read through the materials elsewhere, and maybe this is mentioned - but as a thought, could it have been that de milo version also signifies what happens to weaker/afraid human side entering the lodge. The splitting into two (one arm taken off a-la mike/philip gerard, equalling to a doppelganger being separated/already existing within the black lodge) - and thus the remainder (with a left hand behind the back) supposedly holding an apple of discord in a hidden way, i.e. a secretly possessed doppelganger to face the world with evil intentions as a harsh judgement for failing to face the lodge properly. All the left hand path theories as leaning towards the bad obv applying. And would thus represent cooper since we see one straight after him entering (his fear perhaps gaining him access in the 1st place - we are shown his scared face already during the sycamore song). Whereby de medici version in the red room obv refers to laura, but also any feminine figure in general with sexual and other abuse being an underlying topic here

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