The Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Willendorf

This tiny female statuette is one of the earliest known human figures. The most famous early image of a woman “Venus of Willendorf,” also known as the Woman of Willendorf, is a 4.5 inches high statuette of a female figure was carved some 25,000 years ago.

It was sculpted from yellowish limestone that is not found in the region and so must have been brought to the area from another location, and was tinted with a thick layer of red ochre. She is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It was unearthed on the banks of the Danube River, during the Wachau railway construction in 1908 by Austrian archaeologist Josef Szombathy at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the city of Krems.

Very little is known about its origin, method of creation, or cultural significance. Her small size gives us an important clue to the people who made her. The environment at that time was much colder and bleaker then present-day. She is portable; hinting that her creators moved around a lot most likely created by hunter-gatherers who lived in the area during the last glacial epoch. Right now Venus of Willendorf is on display in The Vienna Natural History Museum.

Her female attributes are quite exaggerated. The stumpy female sculpture features a woman with pendulous breasts, an obese middle and belly that overhangs but does not hide her pubic area and pronounced buttocks. The thick circles at the top of the breasts are vestigial arms. Her forearms are shown over and holding with fingers, the upper part of her breasts.

A roll of fat extends around her middle, joining with large buttocks and thighs are pressed together down to the knees. The statue is not created with feet and does not stand on its own while the belly button and vulva are clearly defined. The nipples are not indicated. The apparent enormous breasts, protruding belly, fleshy hips, stylized round head and the detail put into the vulva, have led scholars to interpret the figure as a fertility fetish, symbolizing abundance.

The figure has no visible facial detail, her head being almost completely covered with circular horizontal bands of what might be rows of braided hair, and others say it is a woven hat pulled low over the face. The purpose of the carving is subject to much speculation. Why were prehistoric humans stimulated by an exaggerated image such as this?

The temperature during the glacial periods was an average of about 3° to 6°C colder than today. The people who made this statue lived in a harsh environment where features of fatness and fertility would have been highly desirable. So in Paleolithic people terms, the parts that mattered most had to do with successful reproduction – the breasts and pelvic girdle. Therefore, these parts were isolated and amplified by the artist’s brain. Some have argued that this female figure denote the existence during this period of a prominent female deity identified usually as the Earth Mother or the Mother Goddess.

  1. Venus of Willendorf | Wikipedia
  2. Venus of Willendorf | Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe
  3. The Venus of Willendorf | Don’s Maps
  4. The Venus of Willendorf, Exaggerated Beauty | How Art Made the World
  5. The Venus of Willendorf | Visual Arts Cork

Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal

Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal
—Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was the first living artist who was featured in the Louvre. I heard this quote so many times but never knew why did he say this? But one day I was listening Guns N’ RosesUse Your Illusion and while enjoying songs I checked the album cover to view other songs listed. The album covers of both Use Your Illusion albums were similar except the colors. The first album cover used warm colors and the second one used cool colors. The artist who created these covers used a detail from Raphael‘s famous masterpiece The School of Athens. The figure on the cover unlike many of those in the painting was not any specific philosopher. Both the albums covers are the work of Mark Kostabi. After that I searched internet for similar kind of works and I found so many albums which were using famous works for their cover art. Some of those albums are.

 

Nine Lives (1997) – Aerosmith

Nine Lives (1997) – Aerosmith

The artwork took from Hindu religion and altered by giving the dancing figure who is Lord Krishna a cat's head on the head of the snake demon, Kaliya.

 

Axis: Bold as Love (1967) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Axis: Bold as Love (1967) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Album's cover has a photographed copy of a religious poster of the Hindu painting known as ‘Viraat Purushan-Vishnuroopam’ showing various forms of Vishnu with a superimposed painting.

 

Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1985) – The Pogues

Rum Sodomy & the Lash (1985) - The Pogues

The cover used a copy of The Raft of the Medusa an over-life-size oil painting by the French painter Théodore Géricault.

 

Intravenus de Milo (1974) – Spinal Tap

Intravenus de Milo (1974) - Spinal Tap

Cover of one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture Venus de Milo (Greek goddess of love and beauty) with an IV tube connected to her

 

The Gospel According to the Meninblack (1981) – The Stranglers

The Gospel According to the Meninblack (1981) - The Stranglers

The original cover features artwork a reproduction of The Last Supper a 15th century mural painting created by Leonardo da Vinci, altered to depict a solemn Maninblack standing watchfully to Jesus' left, in place of Philip.

 

Best of Aphrodite’s Child (1980) – Aphrodite’s Child

Best of Aphrodite's Child (1980) - Aphrodite's Child

It’s copy of The Birth of Venus, a painting of Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a full grown woman, arriving at the sea-shore.

Inspirational Author: Dan Brown

What is an Art? When I finished my graduation in multimedia I was still searching the answer of this question. During my graduation I learnt about shapes, colors, textures, animation and so other things but there was something missing. I didn’t have any idea but there was something. I did multiple jobs in fields of Web and Graphics at about 3 years and all employers were quite satisfied with my work. But I always used to think about something more.

Then one day one of my colleague lend me a novel called “The Da Vinci Code” written by American author, Dan Brown. He said it was so great that I had to read it, and he pressed it into my hands. I was not a good reader but I had heard of this book to death so somehow I decided to read that novel. I attempted to read it once or twice, but couldn’t really get into it. The reason was that the writer used so many historical terms, information about Christianity, symbols, ancient paintings and so on.

And at that time I knew nothing about Louvre, Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, Christianity, Paris etc. So I decided to read about all these things and places while reading the novel. I had to do a kind of research to fully understand the novel and as I read it forward I engrossed in it.

The novel was so informative and rich in historical terms that I lost in it and when I finished that novel I resurrected as a designer who knew how to appreciate art, knew the great designers & sculptures and their masterpieces, knew about Christianity and so other interesting things. There were so many eye-openers in the book like Jesus had a baby, a woman figure in “The Last Supper“. I never thought of it before.

The novel was so inspiring & pulse racing that I read all the novels of Dan Brown and in all of them I found abode of knowledge. Inspired by these novels I started reading about Art History, History, World Religions, World Geography and other things. I read about artistic eras like – Baroque Art, The Rococo, Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, impressionism, Modernism and so on.

After that I found my experience of looking at paintings and sculpture totally transformed. I became more sensitive and dedicated while creating a design. I found that art is a subjective thing and is not limited to color, shapes and texture. It’s more than that and that’s the reason I wrote this article to aware designers towards Art History, various cultures and civilizations and rise & fall of human life. I think it’s essential to know about ancient art to become a better designer.

This is my first effort in writing and I hope I’ll try to enhance my writing as well as designing skills while educating people.

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