February 21, 2010
Art and Politics
Understanding of Human Culture Through Early Art
There has been lots of artwork before the year 100 BCE that represent both the
human male and human female.
Through powerful symbolism these artworks tell us a lot
about early civilization.
We learn the different roles the two sexes played, how people
looked, and how their society was run.
The two artworks I chose to focus in on are the
nude woman (Venus of Willendorf) and the statue of Khafre.
The artwork that I chose to represent the human female is the nude woman (Venus
of Willendorf), from Willendorf, Austria, created around 28,000 to 25,000 BCE.
sculpture of Venus of Willendorf describes a fat, fertile woman.
She has overly large
breasts, a fat stomach, buttocks, and legs.
However, the fat on her body does not cover
her private part, which is very detailed.
Her face, arms, and feet are smaller putting more
emphasis on her body.
She also does not have feet and in real life the statue is very
The lack of feet and her small size is so that when you held the Venus of
Willendorf she fits in the palm of your hand.
The creation of the Venus of Willendorf symbolizes what life was like in the
Because that time period men and women were hunter and gatherers
being big and fat was seen as beautiful and rare.
People were always in constant
movement, physical motion, and constant stress.
Being big and wide did not happen
often and was seen as a symbol of fertility.
The Venus of Willendorf was definitely a
special person and possibly the representation of the Mother Goddess symbolizing life
The breasts and fat around her body are the main focus point of the piece.
When you first look at it those are two things that first stand out.
The detail put into her
private parts, the over expansion of her breasts, and the hair around the face of the Venus
of Willendorf also represent the sexual and erotic symbolism infused with the piece.
Because there are a lot of sculptures of these types of women around that area this could
possibly mean that women might have had a bigger role in society than was previously
The artwork I chose to represent the human male is the statue of Khafre
enthroned, from Gizeh, Egypt, which was created around 2,520 to 2,494 BCE.
of Khafre shows the significance and power of the pharaoh.
The pharaoh rules over all of
Egypt and is supposed to be the direct descendant of God.
The pharaoh is always a male
because society in that time was patriarchal.
However, there have been times in Egyptian
history where the mothers of the pharaohs ruled until their sons came of age.
though this occurred a few times for the majority of the ancient civilization of Egypt a
male pharaoh ruled.
In Egyptian society males were seen as dominant and superior.
There are a lot of different symbols occurring in the statue of Khafre.