Venus Willendorf is considered, as would saynow, the standard of beauty of the Paleolithic era. A small figure depicting a full-bodied woman was found in Austria in 1908. Age of Venus, as scientists suggest, is 24-25 thousand years. It is one of the most ancient cultural objects ever found on Earth.
Similar statuettes archaeologists began to discoverfrom the middle of last century. All of them depict women with voluminous forms and date from the Upper Paleolithic. The territory on which such finds were made is quite extensive: from the Pyrenees to Siberia. All figurines (the total number of them - several hundred) are united today by the name "Paleolithic Venus". Originally, the name of the ancient Roman goddess of beauty was used as a joke: the figures were too different from the accepted canons of the image of the female body. However, it is fixed and used today everywhere.
Venus Willendorf and similar statuetteshave a number of parameters that allow them to be combined into one category of art objects. These are magnificent forms, a small head, expressed sexual signs, frequent absence or insignificant working out of hands and feet. Many statuettes have a rhomboid silhouette. The most voluminous part of the figure is the stomach and buttocks. The legs and head are much smaller, as it were, forming the tops of the rhombus.
There is debate among researchers about whether such a structure is an image of real body shapes found in some African peoples (steatopygia), or it is an element of a cult of fertility.
One of the Paleolithic figurines was discoverednear the town of Willendorf in Austria. In 1908, here on the site of the former brick factory excavations were conducted, and now there is a small monument in the form of an enlarged copy of the found figure.
Venus Willendorf's size has quitesmall - only 11 cm. It is a naked woman with an excessively enlarged breasts, large buttocks and voluminous abdomen. The head of Venus, in comparison with the body, is rather small and has no traced features, but it is adorned with carefully crafted ancient braids. The woman's hands are located on a huge chest and also differ in small size, feet are missing.
Today one can meet the assertion that VenusWillendorf is the oldest of the images of women found. However, the situation is somewhat different. Venus Willendorf, according to scientists, was created approximately 24-25 thousand years ago. Of course, the age is considerable. However, there are also more ancient figurines: Venus from Hole-Fels (35-40 thousand years), Venus Vestonitskaya (27-30 thousand years).
In addition, at the end of the last century there werefound two figures, whose origin is still unclear. If it is proved that they were created by human hands, rather than erosion and weathering, Venus from Tan Tan and Venus from Berehat-Rama will become the most ancient statuettes (300-500 and 230 thousand years old respectively) depicting a woman.
Venus Willendorf is made of oolithicporous limestone. It is interesting that such material is not found in the area where the statuette was found. For some time the origin of Venus remained a mystery to researchers. The staff of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, where the figure is kept today, was able to open the veil of secrecy. Probably limestone was mined near the Czech city of Brno, which is almost 140 km from Villendorf. Here is the Stranskaya Skala, whose limestone massif is very similar in composition to the material of Venus. It remains unknown whether the figure was made from the city of Brno or from Villendorf, where the material was delivered.
Another interesting point - the statuette was originallywas covered with red ocher. This fact speaks in favor of the assumption of the ritual purpose of the figure. Most often ocher covered with religious objects.
Absence of any kind of working out of featuresThe person also testifies in favor of this version. In ancient times it was believed that a person is an external expression of personality. Deprived of his figurines embody something more than just people. Probably, Venus Willendorf and similar figurines were ritual objects of the cult of fertility, glorifying childbearing, fertility, abundance. The enlarged abdomen and buttocks could also symbolize support and safety.
It should not be forgotten that in ancient timesour ancestors food was hard work, and hunger was not uncommon event. Therefore, women with lush forms were considered to be full, healthy and rich, capable of giving birth to strong and enduring children.
Perhaps the Paleolithic Venus was the embodimentGoddesses or used as talismans, attracting luck, symbols of fertility, sustainability, security and the continuation of life. The exact answer about the purpose of figurines, most likely, scientists will never know, because too much time has passed since their inception and too little evidence of that era.
People who see for the first time Venus fromVillendorf, react to it in different ways. Someone it causes genuine admiration as a symbol of freedom from today's stereotypes of female beauty (Barbie doll, 90-60-90 and so on). Sometimes Venus is even called a symbol of the feminine essence. Someone at the sight of the figure frankly frightened by the image because of its unusualness. In a word, as in the case of most of the most valuable works of art, Venus Willendorf, whose style of construction is inherent in all Paleolithic figurines, evokes the most controversial emotions.
For some contemporary artists it issource of inspiration. One of the results of the creative processing of the image was the so-called Venus Wilendorf 21st century - a statue with a height of 4.5 meters, the work of one of the graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts in Riga. Like the prototype, it received an ambiguous reaction of critics and ordinary public.
It is undeniable that VenusVillendorf is one of the oldest works of art, a witness of a bygone era. It helps to penetrate for a moment into the distant past, to realize how changing the norms and ideals of beauty, how deeply rooted the roots of the culture we are familiar today. Like everything strange and unusual, against the backdrop of an established way of life and thinking, she calls to look at herself and the story a little from a different angle, to doubt the truth of beliefs and dogmas, to let in creative inspiration and get rid of the deceased and stale.