Poncet was born in Lyon but spent much of his career in Rome, where he sculpted this Venus. His statue was intended to rival the most famous classical pieces.
The care that went into creating the face and body, both of which embody an idealised beauty, the detail in the graceful proportions and sense of movement in this depiction of the goddess is particularly reminiscent of the Capitoline Venus, which was discovered in Rome in the late 17th century. The iconography also evokes Graeco-Roman culture. While Venus' sensual nudity reflects her irresistible seductive powers, the pair of kissing doves evokes the love that she inspires in all living creatures.
In France, as in Italy, critics praised Poncet for his creative dialogue with classical art, which was then held to be the absolute aesthetic benchmark. An identical replica made by the artist, signed and dated 1782, is currently held in a private collection.