Venus and her mirror

Each face of this stone altar is carved with a relief representing a Roman god. Venus is clearly identifiable on this face: her nudity is enhanced by a cloak which passes behind her back and across her left leg.
She is making a characteristic gesture: holding a fold of her cloak in her right hand, and raising a mirror (a circular bronze or polished silver plate) to her face with her left hand. So Venus is admiring her reflection in this little handmirror. She was sometimes depicted looking at her mirror and combing her hair. This was a common way of portraying the goddess in Antiquity, as it perfectly reflected the goddess’s attributes: the mirror was a means of admiring and glorifying her own beauty, and thus the love that she symbolised.