From the Stone Age in 25,000 BC through the late classical period in 400 BC women have been constantly portrayed in many different ways. As man evolved over the centuries his views of the female body also transformed. The changing representation of women can be seen in four pieces of art, the Venus of Willendorf, The statue of Menkaure and his Wife, The Snake Goddess and the Aphrodite of Knidos. Each statue presents very different characteristics and views, yet they all had one thing in common, female nudity.
The best known Paleolithic female figure is the Venus of Willendorf, which dates back to between 28,000 and 25,000 BC. The tiny statue, which is only four and a half inches tall, is made of limestone and was named after the town, which she was found in, Willendorf, Austria. The sculpture shows a very anatomically exaggerated woman, which has suggested to many that this served as a fertility image. The sculpture shows a nude woman with a large stomach that sticks out but does not hide her pubic area. The stomach appears to depict pregnancy. Her thighs and breast are also enormous yet her arms and hands are very thin in comparison. The sculpture gave little importance to detail and gave the statue no facial characteristics. This may have been done because the artist intent might not have been to represent a specific woman but rather womanhood. The only detail the artist suggested was her hair which some may argue is a woven hat.The, combination of her large breasts and the ro!
undness of her stomach, suggests that the “subject” of the sculpture is female procreativity. It is clear that the Paleolithic art consists almost exclusively of females as opposed to males.This ultimately seems to show their preoccupation with women since it was their fertility that insured the survival of the species.
The statue of Menkaure and his wife from the Old Kingdom also portrays women in a different vi…