ANTARES DESIGN
Replicas of ancient 'Venus Figures' made by Gemma Goodall

Gemma has used photos, illustrations and technical papers as references to make these replicas of the famous ancient figures as accurate as can be. They are as good a colour likeness and shape to the originals as possible and appear to be the most realistic available. The only exception is that Gemma has adapted the feet slightly to allow the figures to stand upright so they do not need to be fixed on to a mount. We currently have replicas of the Willendorf and Lespugue Venus figures in stock but Gemma is working on expanding the range.
The original venus figures made by Gemma have been moulded and then cast in a tough Jesmonite acrylic resin. This is an architectural product that is robust enough to allow these replicas to be placed either inside or outside without suffering any damage from weathering.

Cost of each figure: £25.oo (25 GB pounds) plus postage and package (this will depend on where you are, but for delivery in the United Kingdom this will generally be about £3.00 per figure).
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The Venuses of Willendorf and Lespugue. Amongst the oldest works of art known are the nude and celebratory three-dimensional female figures known as ‘Venus Figures’. These were made by ancient “Late Palaeolithic" hunter-gatherers tens of thousands of years ago, and are known from several sites in Europe. The face, arms and legs are largely neglected, while the breasts, belly and thighs, (the features typical for the woman-mother), are exaggerated. The two most famous statuettes are the ‘Venus of Willendorf’ and the ‘Venus of Lespugue’.

The ‘Venus of Willendorf’ was found in 1908 by an archaeologist named Joseph Szombathy in an Aurignacian loess deposit near the town of Willendorf in Austria. It is now in the Natural History Museum in Vienna. It represents a strong, robust, mature woman with an elaborate coiffure. She stands about 11cm high, is carefully carved from oolitic limestone and was coloured with red ochre. It is dated to between 30,000 and 25,000 BC. This statue is an important and instantly recognisable icon of prehistory, famous all around the world. Archaeologists have suggested many different ways of understanding its significance for the nomadic society which made it. The most likely suggestion is that it was a "Venus figure" or "Goddess," and was used as a symbol of fertility.

The exaggerated nature of the feminine characteristics was clearly inspired by reverence of the womanly form. This was the period in the history of mankind when matriarchism is believed to have begun and women occupied an important place in the economic and social sphere. With the probable existence of group marriages, the specific fathering of a child was probably unknowable. Only the mother was known and the relationship was therefore taken from the distaff side. The childbearing mother in general was an esteemed member of society. The developing tribal community would then ultimately derive its origin from some ancient ancestress, which they possibly worshipped. These Venus figures are probably the object and symbol of a cult, most likely a childbearing and fertility cult.

The ‘Venus of Lespugue’ was found in 1922 in the Rideaux cave of Lespugue (Haute-Garonne) in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is carved from a fragment of mammoth ivory tusk, and measures just under 15cm high. Although displaying the usual feminine exaggerations, the form is refined and artistically carved. It has been dated to around 26,000 years ago. The whole figure is symmetrical forming a regular diamond shape. The small narrow head is set on a delicate narrow chest, exaggerating the breasts on which both arms rest. The body then widens out into the mighty hips, narrowing again towards the feet.

The artists who produced these two statues lived during an explosively creative period in human evolution - between 50,000 and 25,000 years ago - when art and symbolic behaviour proliferated for the first time. The statuettes are regarded as the product of the highest skill and aesthetic imagination.

For prices, commisions or any enquiries please email Gemma at: gemma@antaresdesign.com

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