Travel writer Rick Steves on how Venus de Milo’s well-proportioned body personified the balance and orderliness of the Greek universe:

Split Venus down the middle from nose to toes and see how the two halves balance each other. Venus rests on her right foot (that contrapposto pose so popular with classical sculptors.) She then lifts her left leg, setting her whole body in motion. It’s all perfectly realistic: As the left leg rises, her right shoulder droops down. And as her knee points one way, her head turns the other. Despite all this motion, the impression is one of stillness, as Venus orbits slowly around a vertical axis. The twisting pose gives a balanced S-curve to her body. The balance between fleeting motion and timeless stability made beauty.

Other opposites balance as well, like the smooth skin of the upper half of her body that sets off the rough-cut texture of her dress. She’s actually made from two different pieces of stone plugged together at the hips (you can see the seam.) The face, while realistic and anatomically accurate, is also idealized—like a goddess, she’s too generic and too perfect. This isn’t any particular woman, but Everywoman—all the idealized features that appealed to the Greeks.

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