Venus of Willendorf

Impressions of a Stone Age Icon

By Natural History Museum Vienna

Natural History Museum Vienna

Venus in her casketNatural History Museum Vienna

The Venus of Willendorf in the box where it had found a home for the first 80 years after its discovery.

Right lateral viewNatural History Museum Vienna

What does the Venus of Willendorf, worked by flint tools about 29,500 years ago, actually represent?

Left lateral viewNatural History Museum Vienna

An exceptionally gifted human being of the Ice Age created a sublime „art object“ that was certainly not intended as such at the time.

Back viewNatural History Museum Vienna

Its beauty is based on the perfection and harmony of the design.

HeaddressNatural History Museum Vienna

The headdress may indicate a hair style or cap.

Breasts and armsNatural History Museum Vienna

The details of posture and adornment appear to be subject to strict rules.

HandsNatural History Museum Vienna

Her tiny hands rest on its breasts.

Central part of the bodyNatural History Museum Vienna

We do not know whether the people of the Old Stone Age considered those figurines as women, mothers, life-giving powers, or ancestresses.

Navel and vulvaNatural History Museum Vienna

Feminists consider it the First Mother turned into stone in support of the matriarchal theory. For the study of prehistoric art, it is one of the most important examples of the artistic work of the Old Stone Age.

LegsNatural History Museum Vienna

Now what do we know about the Venus figurines from an archaeological point of view?

Venus stoneNatural History Museum Vienna

The stone of which the Venus is made: oolite

Deposition of the VenusNatural History Museum Vienna

29 500 years ago a stone figurine was covered with red ochre and hidden in the ground near Willendorf (Lower Austria).

Venus sistersNatural History Museum Vienna

Figurines like the Venus of Willendorf have been found from France to Russia.

Venus site 1908Natural History Museum Vienna

Szombathy immediately realized the importance of the find. He photographed the place where the Venus had been found and retired with Bayer to the tavern located below the railway line.

Diary entry 7.8.1908Natural History Museum Vienna

On August 7th, 1908, Josef Szombathy, the head of the anthropologic-prehistoric collection of the Imperial Natural History Museum in Vienna, drew a sketch of the position of the figurine as it was found into his diary.

Credits: Story

NHM Vienna

Responsible for the Project: Antl-Weiser Walpurga, Golebiowski Reinhard, Köberl Christian, Mayrhofer Susanne, Ott Iris, Stöckle Gabriel

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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