The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Contrapposito Stance and Why Your Mother Told You Never To Slouch..

I am constantly editing these posts for mistakes, errors, and above all content. If I couldn't put ten words together to create a cogent thought I would be in big trouble indeed. In that last post I threw out a big Italian word which is really important when talking about nude figures and how they are posed in the compositions and that word is "contrapposito." I know from looking at the blog's followers list that the great many of you are trained artists and know what that word entails and implies but there are one or two newbies out there who stumble (I love that just rolls off the tongue as you hit the ground) upon this blog and are scratching their heads wondering what that big Italian word means. Well, it simply relates to the way a figure is standing in the picture or sculptural plane. Specifically, contrapposito is when the figure is standing with one leg holding its full weight and the other leg is relaxed. That pose dates back to the sculptures of ancient Greece. It was their attempt to make their sculptures more "human" and less cardboard cutouts. In this classic pose, the figure's hips and shoulders rest at opposite angles, giving a slight s-curve to the entire torso. I would like to thank for the above illustration. The red lines on Michaelangelo's David show where his muscles are tensed and the blue lines show where his muscles are relaxed. David really is a perfect example of contrapposito in Renaissance sculpture. In this pose the figure is at rest, very natural, very "human" in its stance. Translated the word simply means "counterpoise."

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