The most comprehensive definition of contrapposto is a way of depicting a figure in art, in which the position of one part of the body is contrasted with the view of the other part. Contrapposto dynamizes the rhythm of the figure and allows portraying its movement or tension without disturbing the overall balance of forms.


Contrapposto is the technique of figure imaging in art, in which body parts are depicted in contrast. It is one of the most popular poses in painting and sculpture, invented by the ancient Greeks. The pose gives life to static figures, giving them a natural sense of movement. The body, shoulders, and head of the character recline from a straightened leg, thus completing the turn.

The contrapposto appeared in the antique era, and this becomes one of the main distinguishing features of classics and archaic. The technique can deceive the audience by embodying the artist’s work in a living, breathing human being. The sense of light naturalism has captured the creative minds of people. If one identifies this pose, then it can be seen everywhere, from Renaissance masterpieces to modern photographs.

The contrapposto goes beyond the limits of morphogenesis in the objective world. All objects are arranged in dialogical pairs, forming the interconnected metaphors dictated by the author, which are opposed to each other in a contrapposto way. The semantic core of each object is expressed in plastic, the deceptive balance of which captivates not only the sphere of symbols but also the sphere of meanings. In the late classics, the contrapposto, as a style, reached the end of its development. The works that the artists subsequently produced were only variations and complications of the contrapposto, which remains the primary technique of figure staging.