143 Footnotes



If you want to more about footnotes go to www.herkimer.edu


Click Under Research

There are numerous suggestions there.

Here is a good website for Footnotes:


Here are examples:

I understand that you do not yet fully grasp the purpose of footnotes, so let this be a learning experience.

You need a little number, something after each major fact that you are including from a source. If I read in our text something specific about a work of art, I need to denote that the fact came from our text. The footnotes are included for numerous reasons :

1. Give credit to the original writer for their research.

2. Let the reader know where to look for the statement that you have included in your essay.

2A. Use quotes if copying even a few lines directly without change from a source.

Here are examples :

I chose Islam as a religion to research. Before looking into what religion I was going to pick I thought of which one I really did not know anything about so I chose Islam. The Islam religion was founded by the Prophet Muhammad during the seventh century. Islam is the youngest of the three monotheistic religions, meaning the belief in one God. The religous book is the Qur’an and the Islam religion believes in final reward and punishment along with the unity of the nation of Islam. In the Islam religion there are five basic requirements: “affirmation that there is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, Salah, the five daily ritual prayers, Zakat is the giving of alms, which is also known as a religion tax, Swam, is dawn-to-sunset fast during the lunar month of Ramadan, and Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca“(1). see this number, then look below at the listed sources below to find where it came from The pilgrimage to Mecca unites Islam and all of the believers from all over the world each year. The chief angels are Gabriel and Michael, which was interesting to me because Gabriel is one of the angels in the Catholic faith. The devil is the evil Jinn. The Islam religion does not except gambling, drinking alcohol or eatting pork. Eating meat is only aloud if the animal was killed in a ritual ceremony(1). The word “Islam means “submission” or “surrender” to the will of the one God“(2). The Islam religion believes in Satan and that Satan makes people committe sin. It was also very interesting to me that the Islam religion respected earlier prophets which also the Catholic faith does as well. These prophets are Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. I found that Islam believers do not think that Jesus died on the cross(2). Islam believers go to a mosque which is a building that is used to worship and pray. Before entering the removal of shoes and ritual washings are essential. Inside there is little or no furniture and no artwork or statues like there would be in a church(3). The most interesting thing that I found out was that it is considered profane to create an image of Allah. Inside the mosque there is a niche on the wall which is the direction toward Mecca and people pray five times a day toward Mecca. While in the mosque everyone is equal and sit on the floor. Women are aloud in the mosque but have to sit away from the men(3).

I found that the Islam religion is similar in some ways to the Catholic faith and I am sure that if I look further and do more research I may come across many differences. It was very interesting to look at another religion because I have never really considered doing so before. Looking for the artwork was harder then I had expected but I felt that I found some neat pieces.

I found an image called “pages from a Manuscript of the Quran” which was created around the middle of the 10th century. The writting on the page is done in gold ink on parchment paper which was dyed blue. The dimensions of the Quran are 11 1/8 x 14 3/4 inches overall and the text is 8 x 11 inches. The parchment paper that the Quran was written on was made from cured and scraped animal skin. After the 12th century the Quran was printed on paper. The word Quran means “recitation”, and is the holy book of Islam. “Calligraphy is noted as the most highly esteemed Islamic art” (4). When looking at the page of the Quran I was amazed at how neat and clearly written the words were, if I could only have read what they said. I picked this piece of artwork because it is a major part of the Islam religion.

I chose a piece called “Lamp” which came from the Mamluk Dynasty dating back to 1350. This sculpture was made from free blown tooled glass. The dimensions of the lamp are 13 5/8 x 11 1/4 inches. This piece of artwork was produced- for religous reasons and was most likely used during religous ceremonies. The neck of the lamp has words from the Quran that say “God is the light of the heavens and of the earth”. At the base of the lamp there are other words stating that the lamp was owned by Shaykhu al-Nasiri(4).this number 4 denotes that the Los Angeles County Museum is the source, see below I chose this piece of artwork because of its use in religous ceremonies. The sculpture looks like pottery to me and I would have called it a vase because it looks nothing like a modern lamp but does look like an oil lamp.

I came across many modern pieces of art that were related to the Islam religion but I felt that these two were the ones that were more interesting to look at and also had history behind them.


1. Islam an overview

2.All about Islam

3. Worship

4. Islamic Art work from the Los Angeles County Museum Here is the #4 that is denoted by the underlined above


“All About Islam”.http://religion-cults.com/Islam/islam.htm.viewed on the worldwide web 1/11/07.

Los Angeles County Museum.Islamic Art.”Highlights from Islamic Art”.http://collectionline.lacma.org/MWEB/about/islam_about.asp.

viewed on the worldwide web 1/11/07.Here is the actual source of the lamp image above that is denoted by the footnote

“Islam An over View”.http://www.afghah-network.net/islam/.viewed on the worldwide web 1/11/07.

“Worship”.http://www.diversition.com/religion/main/islam/worship.asp.viewed on the worldwide web 1/11/07.


See how many footnotes, and sources are used in this fine essay.



I. Answering Questions about the Venus of Willendorf.


The “Venus of Willendorf” is the name given to a female figure made of oolitic limestone and red ochre. She stands about 4 3/8″ tall and dates around 22,000-21,000 BCE. She was found in an “Aurignacian loess deposit” near the town of Willendorf, which is located in Austria. This deposit was found in 1908, in a terrace, approximately 30 meters above the Danube, by an archaelogist named Josef Szombathy.(1) A loess deposit, according to website, http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/loess, is an area where

deposits of silt (sediment with particles 2-64 microns in diameter) have been laid down by wind action. Many times, these loess areas were formed around the edges of continental glaciers. This seems consistent with the information of the time period.

Other answers to questions involving this piece of art will be pondered throughout the rest of the essay. It will then be compared to a more modern work of the female form.

Perhaps one of the first things one notices when viewing “Venus of Willendorf” is that she is apparently unclothed and that the exposed areas (breast, stomach, and vulva area) are amplified and exaggerated in respect to the rest of the female form. One has to wonder why the artist chose to portray this woman in such a way. Perhaps, as one site mentions; in her nudity, she proclaims “a physical and sexual self that seems unrestrained, unfettered by cultural taboos and social conventions: she is an image of natural femaleness.”(2) Given the time in which she was created, this may be significant in informing us about the role and importance of women in this society. Were the women of that age more liberated than those of times to come? Were they more like the modern woman, who is just beginning to feel comfortable about “showing” her pregnancy/body?

Or, are these enlarged areas, an indication of some form of fertility goddess: a symbol of the continuation or hope of continuation of life? It was interesting to read that those prehistoric sculptures that have been found were basically of animals or of women; and the women were done nude. It seems to me that both animals and women were important to the survival of the species and therefore, of more value or of more importance and more worthy of being immortalized in stone or paint. That the women were nude might suggest that anything “manmade” or clothing the spiritual essence of the body would make it less pure; especially when you read that most scholars believe that both women and men of that time wore garments on parts of their bodies.(3) Considering that there were most likely glaciers during that time, clothing or furs would be necessary for survival!

Another noticeable attribute to the “Venus of Willendorf” is her apparent lack of facial features. One site comments that it is the face which is the “key feature in human identity.”(4) This, then, gives a certain air of mystery to her or makes her identifiable to every woman. By removing this feature from the sculpture, the artist seems to want us to look at her, not as an individual but rather as an object or representation of something more that the self. It is her body, her physical self, which seems to be of utmost importance to the artist. The “Venus of Willendorf” becomes more than a woman: she becomes a representation of all women, of womanhood.

Even though her most important characteristics are her lack of identifiable face, her enlarged breasts, stomach, and pubic area, which was emphasized by red ochre, her hair and size are also important. There are several opinions and theories about these characteristics, which I have included below.

The first theory states that given her enlarged breasts, stomach, and pubic are may denote fertility and thus view her as being a sort of “Goddess.” The color red found near the pubic area may have been symbolic of a woman’s menstruation (a life-giving agent), indicating her fertility.(5)

The second theory states that she may have been a good luck charm for hunters, perhaps as both a reminder of their loved one at home as well as charm for a successful hunt. The “diminutive size of the figure would have made it an appropriate fit for one’s hand or pocket to be carried about in such a manner. The idea of her being a luck charm is further emphasized by the number of braids woven upon her head. They number in seven, which is thought to have been a magical number and in turn bring good luck”.(6)

Her obese size considers a third theory, in which the “Venus of Willendorf’ is a mother goddess or “female deity” and that her size shows her “special-ness” within the tribe. Most of the other women would not have had the chance to get fat as they went about their daily nomadic style of life.(7)

The “Venus of Willendorf” has large thighs that are pressed together at the knees as well as thin arms draped over her breasts. I think this may indicate a woman who is either pregnant or who has been pregnant before. I have noticed that my sister developed similar characteristics, which her arms and ankles remained thin. She, too, often rests her arms in a similar fashion. In a site, it does mention that women who are having or have had children will often have developed thigh muscles, fuller breasts, and as they have child after child a more protruding middle, while their arms and ankles remain on the slender side. (8)

The face, arms, and legs seem to be of little importance to the artist, while much emphasis is placed on the breasts, stomach with its deep navel, pubic area with its defined vulva slit, and the hair. It was interesting to read that one site claims that: “at one time, hair was seen as a source of strength and as “the seat of the soul.” Hair too has also been a means of attraction between humans as well as animals regarding the odor held by the hair.(9)

I found it interesting that the parts of the female that indicate procreativity are the ones emphasized, while the parts of the body such as the arms, legs, feet, and face, which don’t play an “active” role in this process are de-emphasized. Her lack of feet was very interesting and after thinking a while, I began to wonder if, perhaps, there might have been a woman who was born without feet or lost her feet. Being unable to move, she might well gain weight; especially if this woman was perceived to be some wise woman or having certain mystical powers and was therefore well fed/kept by the rest of the tribe! Then, perhaps, this statuette was made in honor of her. It makes you wonder about its true significance!

I also read that the roundness of her body sections may have had something to do with the artists response to the “natural shape of the stone selected for carving.”(10)If it weren’t for the detail in the carving, I suppose you could wonder at this point, especially, when I also read that other Paleolithic stone women statuettes were more slender in proportion.(11)

I think she might well have been a part of a tribal ceremony dealing with the continuation or “life” of the tribe: be it a joining of couples or success in a hunt.

It makes you wonder if the artist was a man or a woman. Unfortunately, in my research, I was unable to find any definite answer to this question. One site mentions that due to the emphasis placed on the vulva and the red pigmentation used within that area perhaps to symbolize a woman’s menstrual flow, it “places the figurine emphatically within the sphere of the female: increasing the possibility that it was carved, not by a man, but by a woman.”(12)

On one hand, I could see how she may have been a product of a woman’s hand. From my reading, it seems that woman had a special place in a tribes natural order of things and so perhaps the figurine was created by an elder woman to pass down to the next generations in order to ensure luck with fertility and thus ensuring the survival of the tribe. Yet, on the other hand, I could see where it might have been created by a man’s hand. The detail in which the hair was depicted, the attention and detail placed on the areas involving womanhood/pregnancy might almost be something more noticed by a male member of the tribe. I think the question of whether or not the artist was female or male, leads us to the following questions about whether or not a man views the world differently and what is beautiful in relation to this figurine and other works of art.

Is a man’s view different than a woman’s? Yes, to a certain extent I think it is, especially when one is talking in terms of “beauty.” I think that if you were to ask women of present day whether or not we saw the “Venus of Willendorf” beautiful, I think a majority would reply in the negative: simply because we have been brought up in a society where body image is of utmost importance. We tend to associate beauty with thinness. Men, on the other hand, often seem to prefer a more voluptuous figure. I know my mom often spoke of my dad’s father as teasing her for being “too thin”. He told her that men don’t want to hug trees, but would much rather hug a soft pillow!

This idea of beauty is referred to in various articles, some of which I have included below. One article commented that by attaching “Venus” to this figurine, it seems to bring with it a set of ideas or images that influence our response to her. According to the article, we should be: “let down with the image presented before us: the “Venus of Willendorf” takes on a negative image as she’s now considered a “failed Venus.” It continues that: while the “Venus of Willendorf” is “biologically female, she is not feminine” so in an essence, she “fails” again in terms of beauty. (13) That is why sometimes, she is listed as “Woman of Willendorf” so people do not come to her with any expectations or preconceived ideas of how she should look based upon her name.

There is that saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Yet, again; what is beauty? I guess that all depends on whose eyes are beholding the figurine and what they themselves consider to be beautiful. A lot of what we consider beautiful is based upon our upbringing, culture, religion, views on life and body image, etc etc. All these things play a factor as I am sure they did back when she was created. Obviously, her body composition was looked upon not with disgust but with something held in high esteem. While I might not consider her to be beautiful at first glance, her story intrigues me and I was interested in what I found and I know I will always wonder about some of those questions that still help the “Venus of Willendorf” retain much of her mystery!!

II.Comparing this piece with a more modern work.

Given the task of finding a figure of a woman to compare to the “Venus of Willendorf” seemed like a hard task at first. However, I remembered a modern artist by the name of Alberto Giacometti and his piece “Man Pointing”, and wondered if he had done any female versions. It turns out he did! I discovered and became interested in one piece called: “Woman with Her Throat Cut”(1932). This sculpture is done in a surrealistic style and stands 34 ½ inches in height. This is much larger than “Venus of Willendorf” who only stands 4 3/8″. Unlike “Venus of Willendorf,” who is made out of limestone, “Woman with Her Throat Cut” is made out of bronze and whereas the stone figure is very rotund, this statue is almost skeletal in nature.(14)

The figurine of “Venus of Willendorf” gives off a positive aura or appearance and there is no grotesqueness surrounding her in any way. Her proportions are flowing and smooth. They indicate a plump life giving form. In contrast, Giacometti’s “Woman with her Throat Cut” portrays an entirely different image of women or a woman. The bronze metal is cut in angles and twisted lines, though, it still retains some fluidity. It is not a restful piece and seems to cry out violence or the darker sides/or end of life instead of a beginning.

Giacometti’s piece reminded me of a praying mantis and I remembered that the female often kills the male after mating. So, interestingly enough, both figures have that sense of “mating” and a sense of female power attached to them as well.

I’ve read there is a violence of sorts in the contorted metal and I can see how the triangular forms suggest a spine and how she appears to be twisted and used. Parts look like her ribs, spine, stomach, bent legs, and a head that is almost, but not quite decapitated from the rest of the figure. On an interesting note, it is said that one of the arms, “ends in a cylindrical weight that, according to the artist was inspired by the nightmare of not being able to lift an arm to push an attacker away.” (15) An interesting concept if you think about it. The woman is both a victim and a victimizer.

Each figure represents a woman that is needed to continue the cycle of life and in a way is the victim of society. Yet, because she is the only member of the two sexes that can carry new life, she also has a degree of power over the male portion of society. Each figure is powerless to escape this situation as well. The “Venus of Willendorf” has no feet to get away with and Giacometti’s piece has an arm held down by a weight, making it impossible for her to get away as well.

How interesting to look at two completely different sculptures of women, from two completely different time periods, done in completely different mediums, and still be able to find similarities in both! I know I was amazed!


1. “The Woman of Willendorf: 30,000 to 25,000 BC”: 1, Venus of Willendorf:1

2. Venus of Willendorf: 2. Name :2

3. Kleiner, Fred S., Mimiya, Christin J., Tansey, Richard G. Gardner’s

Art Through the Ages. Eleventh Edition: 3

4. Venus of Willendorf: 3. Woman from Willendorf:2

5. The Woman of Willendorf: 30,000 to 25,000 BC”: 1

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Venus of Willendorf: 3. Woman from Willendorf:1

9. Ibid:2

10. Kleiner, Fred S., Mimiya, Christin J., Tansey, Richard G.

Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Eleventh Edition: 3

11. Ibid.

12. About com.:1

13. Venus of Willendorf: 2. Name: 2

14. Woman with her throat cut: 1

15. Tate Modern | Exhibitions | Surrealism: Desire Unbound:1


Kleiner, Fred S., Mimiya, Christin J., Tansey, Richard G. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Eleventh Edition


About com.

Cultural Scavanger Hunt.

Tate Modern I Exhibitions I Surrealism: Desire Unbound. .

The Venus of Willendorf.

The Woman of Willendorf: 30,000 to 25,000 BC”.

The Women of Willendorf.

Venus of Willendorf.

Venus of Willendorf: 3. Woman from Willendorf.

Venus of Willendorf:2.Name.

Woman with Her Throat Cut.

Woman with Her Throat Cut.


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