Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(It.: ‘set against’).

Term applied to poses in which one part of a figure twists or turns away from another part. It was originally applied, during the Renaissance, to a relaxed asymmetrical pose characteristic of much Greek and Roman sculpture in which the body's weight is borne mainly on one leg, so that the hip of that leg rises relative to the other (the Doryphoros of Polyclitus is a classic example). The term is now, however, used in a much broader sense and applied as much to painting as to sculpture. The acknowledged master of contrapposto was Michelangelo, and his Mannerist followers (for example Bronzino) often devised poses of wilful complexity in order to demonstrate their skill in the field.

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.