The Venus of Willendorf is one of the oldest and most famous early images of a human. She represents what use to be the “ideal woman” with her curvy figure and the emphasis on fertility seen in the features of her sculpted body. This paper will analyze the Venus of Willendorf sculpture in terms of its formal analysis.
Most of the information about the Venus of Willendorf is based on scientific research and theory because there is no actual documentation that dates back as far as the sculpture. The Venus of Willendorf was sculpted long before any type of written language was discovered. There are a few different dates as to when art historians believe she was sculpted depending on the source, but typically it is believed that the Venus was sculpted between 28,000-25,000 BCE. The artist is unknown because artists did not start signing their work until approximately 350 BCE, but the general location of where the sculpture was found gives certain information about the artists background. Art historians believe this sculpture was created by hunter-gatherers who lived on the Danube River in Austria, which is the location where the sculpture was discovered. The artist who sculpted this is believed to have lived in a harsh ice-age environment where fatness and fertility would have been highly desirable features; hence the Venus’ full figured body.
The Venus of Willendorf gets her name based on the term art historian’s used to depict early sculptures of women and based on where she was discovered. The Venus of Willendorf was given the “Venus” name because it is a collective term that art historians and archaeologists used to name Stone Age figurines of women. The term Venus comes from the Greco-Roman goddess of beauty and love. The term “Willendorf”’ fits into her name because she was found on the banks of the Danube River in Willendorf, Austria. According to Gardners Art through the Ages, the name Venus of Willendorf is “inappropriate and misleading… it is doubtful...
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