Balanced, Harmonius, Relaxed

by Kiko Matsing

Elizabeth Taylor (Butterfield 8); Monica Vitti (La Notte)

Contrapposto is an Italian term that means counterpose. It is used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs. This gives the figure a more dynamic, or alternatively relaxed appearance.

Contrapposto has been used since the dawn of classical western sculpture… Classical contrapposto was revived in the Renaissance by the Italian artists… One of the major achievements of the Italian Renaissance was the re-discovery of contrapposto…

Contrapposto was an extremely important sculptural development for it is the first time in Western art that the human body is used to express a psychological disposition.

(from Wikipedia)

Venus de Milo; Boticelli’s Birth of Venus (detail)