contrapposto

[kohn-truh-pos-toh]
noun, plural contrappostos. Fine Arts.
a representation of the human body in which the forms are organized on a varying or curving axis to provide an asymmetrical balance to the figure.

Origin:
1900–05; < Italian < Latin contrāpositus, past participle of contrāpōnere to place against. See contra1, posit

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To contrapposto
Collins
World English Dictionary
contrapposto (ˌkɒntrəˈpɒstəʊ)
 
n , pl -tos
(in the visual arts) a curving or asymmetrical arrangement of the human figure with the shoulders, hips, and legs in different planes
 
[C20: from Italian, from the past participle of contrapporre, from Latin contracontra- + pōnere to place]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

contrapposto
1903, from It. contrapposto, pp. of contrapporre, from L. contraponere (see contraposition).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

contrapposto

(Italian: "opposite"), in the visual arts, a sculptural scheme, originated by the ancient Greeks, in which the standing human figure is poised such that the weight rests on one leg (called the engaged leg), freeing the other leg, which is bent at the knee. With the weight shift, the hips, shoulders, and head tilt, suggesting relaxation with the subtle internal organic movement that denotes life. Contrapposto may be used for draped as well as nude figures. The Greeks invented this formula in the early 5th century BC as an alternative to the stiffly static pose-in which the weight is distributed equally on both legs-that had dominated Greek figure sculpture in earlier periods. There is a clear development from the "Critius Boy" of the 5th century, whose leg is bent while his torso remains erect, to the completely relaxed 4th-century "Hermes Carrying the Infant Dionysus" by Praxiteles. The rhythmic ease of the contrapposto pose vastly enlarged the expressive possibilities of figure sculpture.

Learn more about contrapposto with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
He stands in a dynamic contrapposto pose with his right hand holding a quill pen.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature