Last week, I was in Vienna. One of the things we did there was to visit the Museum of Natural History, specifically to see the 25,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf. (I had no idea this piece was in Vienna; my husband was the mastermind behind the pilgrimage.)
I have to give kudos to the curator of the museum, who has put the statue in its own tiny building within the museum. A placard at the doorway gives some basic information, including the fact that she was originally painted red ochre. Once you step behind the placard and see the wonderful display, you can press a button to change the light to red. (The button also triggers the playing of an unfortunate fake-cavepeople song.) At any rate, I read the placard, and then walked around the corner.
I didn’t photoshop or alter this picture at all; this is exactly how she’s presented, in a glass case, illuminated with a single, subtle light, floating in space. The presentation perfectly highlights the beauty of this ancient carving. She is probably a fertility icon; as the museum points out, the figure’s sexual characteristics are emphasized. But I also experienced her as an echo of my own body—twenty-five-thousand years later, and I could relate to her in some elemental way. Pretty amazing. I hope you can share a little bit of my experience by looking at this carving, admiring its beauty, and seeing your own beauty reflected there.
Posted by mo pie