Entries in art history (1)

Wednesday
Jan142015

Rethinking Venus


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It is a less than a week before we start back at school, and it is at this time I start to focus on what content I am going to teach in my art lessons. I start the Grade 10 art history term with Prehistoric art. One of the pieces we focus on is the Venus of Willendorf, so I thought I would trawl the internet to see if I could find new material on her. To my surprise I discovered some images & comparative material that I hadn’t previously encountered. 

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This glitzy interpretation of the Venus (above) with her left leg lifted up in the air & bedekked in mirror-ball like tiles, can be found in Riga, the capital of Latvia. 

If any of my friends/students want to raise funds for me for one (with champagne included) of these interpretations of the Venus by Jeff Koons in 2013 I would not be ungrateful!  "Koons and Dom Pérignon collaborated on a limited number (650 worldwide) of manually assembled and hand polished champagne holders inspired by Koons’ Balloon Venus...

The two-foot tall polyurethane resin version (shown above) of the artist’s bulbous take on the 25,000 year old fertility symbol, Venus of Willendorf, was designed to cradle a bottle of Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003 and is offered in a limited edition of 650 worldwide costing $20,000 a piece."

I thought this image with Gormley's figures lined up in front of the Venus is an interesting juxtaposition:

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and this cartoon comparison of prehistoric and contemporary perspectives is quite telling...

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Finally I came across a research paper exploring Jenny Saville's nudes and linking her nudes not only to the Venus of Willendorf but to nudes throughout art history. 

Jenny Saville, Propped, 1992 Oil on canvas 213.5 x 183 cm

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The paper is called "An Admired Abjection" - find the original article here,

and it deals with changing ideals of the female form. The Venus of Willendorf is examined on a page called "From Willendorf to Will Power". 

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