Willendorf and Laussel
During the Upper Paleolithic era artists created a wide range of small sculptures. These sculptures were made from various materials, including ivory, bone, clay, and even stone. They represented humans, as well as animals; they even combined them at times. Most of the sculptures from this time show a high level of skill. From this time, there were two very influential sculptures, The Venus of Willendorf and the Venus of Laussel. This paper will discuss both sculptures, in detail, as well as, compare and contrast them. The Venus of Willendorf, also known as the Woman of Willendorf, stands 11 cm. high and is thought to have been carved from 22,000 to 21,000 B.C. It was discovered in 1908 by Josef Szombathy at a Paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the city of Krems. It is carved from an oolitic limestone that is not local to the area, and it is also tinted with red ochre. Although the figure appears to be large in size, it can actually fit in the palm of one’s hand. The way that the sculpture is carved shows that it was more than likely meant to be viewed from the front. The Venus of Willendorf is not the only figurine that was nicknamed “Venus”. There are a number of figurines from that time that were given the same name. It is not know who, if anyone, that they were dubbed after. It wasn’t until later that Venus was named as the Roman goddess of beauty. Even to date, there is no information as to what the Venus actually meant. We can only speculate that she was carved to represent reproduction and nursing. There was a huge fascination in that Era of fertility, mainly because it was their method of survival. This is really the only information that we have to indicate that is the reason for the over exaggeration of the breasts and hips. The Venus of Willendorf was considered a sculpture in the round. This was one of the most common ways to sculpt at that time. This means that the sculpture...
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