The term 'Hellenistic' is applied to a period of ancient history starting after the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It is also used to describe a new style of art produced at roughly the same time. Earlier art tended to be a bit stiff and stylised, but over time it had become increasingly naturalistic. Nude statues of Aphrodite became particularly popular during the Hellenistic period. Many of these female nudes appear to have been made with a male viewer in mind and to provoke sexual desire. This erotic subtext may also lie behind this beautiful little ancient sculpture.