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Venus of Willendorf Essay

Found sometime during 1908, George Grant MacCurdy an Anthropologist unearthed a palm sized figurine of a woman. This woman has been given the name Venus of Willendorf. Willendorf was a nearby village in Australia, where the palm sized artifact was found. Venus of Willendorf’s place in history has been debated over the years. Technology advancements have made a more possible guess to her age being somewhere between 24,000-22,000 BCE. (pg.1) Venus of Willendorf is only 4.37 inches, from head to right below the knees. She easily fits in the palm of one’s hand. Carved from a very soft porous limestone not found in the area, she is said to have been brought to Australia and not originally carved where she was found. This artifact is very important to prehistoric art. Important for a few reasons, one the artifact is female, and she is nude. The nudity of Venus is quite revealing of the woman body.

She is a very heavy set female; her abdomen hangs to right above her pubic area. She is resting her arms on her very large breasts, that do not focus any attention what so ever to the nipple area. The focus on the pubic area of her body is very detailed. Why would one carving this figure go into so much detail of the female body is not known for sure? Some think she may have been an idol or charm for reproduction. Maybe she was some sort of queen of the village and was a doll for little girls. Kind of like the Barbie Doll is now days. Some say she had some importance, because of her obesity, she probably didn’t have to gather her food, or hunt for her food, and most likely she was brought everything she needed. The Figurine is done so well that some think the ‘artist’ had a live model to copy from. This may be the case, or maybe everyone from that time was naked and it could be very easy to remember what the female form looks like from all angles, and if this was carved by a female she would know firsthand all the Knicks and crannies of the female body.


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