Sculptural disposition of human figure / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Contrapposto (Italian pronunciation: [kontrapˈposto]) is an Italian term that means "counterpoise". It is used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot, so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs in the axial plane.

A marble copy of Polykleitos' Doryphoros, an early example of classical contrapposto.

First appearing in Ancient Greece in the early 5th century BCE, contrapposto is considered a crucial development in the history of Ancient Greek art (and, by extension, Western art), as it marks the first time in Western art that the human body is used to express a psychological disposition. The style was further developed and popularized by sculptors in the Hellenistic and Imperial Roman periods, fell out of use in the Middle Ages, and was later revived during the Renaissance. Michelangelo's statue of David, one of the most iconic sculptures in the world, is a famous example of contrapposto.