The Venus de Milo is iconic. Why? It turns out a missing piece might have something to do with it. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the secret history of the Venus de Milo, the famous armless statue from Greece. Found in 1820, the Venus de Milo was always considered notable, but it’s a complicated political situation that made the statue iconic. French art and the Louvre were struggling when Venus was discovered. A large cache of art — looted by Napoleon around the world — had recently been returned to various home countries, and that left a huge gap in the Louvre’s classical art collection. Venus was the perfect solution — and the French went to extreme lengths to make sure nobody questioned her legitimacy. The result was a globally famous statue with a complicated and secretive history.