Contrapposto – A Traditional Pose

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Contrapposto” is an Italian word meaning counterposing one part of the body against another to maintain a position in balance.”  It is a Renaissance principle in which the whole weight of the trunk is supported by one leg.   For example, when the model places almost all her weight on one leg, the shoulders then naturally relax and drop down over the side of that leg.  The shoulders counter the upward thrust of the hip and the head tilts in the opposite direction to the shoulders.

Michelangelo’s “David” and “The Porch of Maidens”  are great examples of contrapposto poses.



Porch of the Maidens (south porch), Erechtheion, 421-406 BCE
Acropolis, Athens accessed 04/09/2016

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