Nekkid Contrapposto – Amid the Greek and Roman Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The story starts innocently enough, on a family intervention at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Teen Daughter had just followed up getting an A in her first quarter of AP World History, with a near fail on her last test. Before the class moved on to Ancient Greece, it seemed like a good idea to learn a little about about Greek Art.

Carrying the hefty History of Art for Young People, we must have startled the patrons with our insightful commentary.

In front of Kouros, I tried to explain how this was an example of early Greek Art clearly evident in the rigid, blocky figure.


But Teen Daughter argued, “No, you’re wrong. THIS is contrapposto. See, he’s bending his knee.”

I’m a patient, understanding mom, so I got into the Kouros position, trying to demonstrate that this was NOT contrapposto, but she wasn’t buying it.

I tried recruiting my husband, the doctor, to explain how the young Kouros man was in a military stance with straight, locked knees. Despite his vast knowledge of the human ear, he sided with Teen Daughter.

Another art lover tried to point out that the sign actually described Kouros as “rigid,” but my family wasn’t convinced.

It was almost like they weren’t even looking at the statue.

I gave up, and continued the tour through history to the statues from the Classical period.

“See, this is contrapposto!”


My husband commented on the likeness to himself. I think he was referring to the six-pack abs. My daughter thought that her boyfriend was better looking, and my son just refused to look at all.

I don’t think any of them glanced below the waist to note that this young man was standing with most of his weight on one foot with his pelvis tilted, giving him a dynamic, lively pose, i.e. contrapposto!

It wasn’t until we reached the Roman statues, with fully clothed figures, that Teen Daughter was willing to concede that perhaps Kouros did not have bent knees.


Dinner on the Met Steps

We celebrated my victory, yay contrapposto!, with a hurried dinner on the Met steps. Because you really should have some form of protein before heading to the desert aisle, we stopped first at the hot dog stand.


And then we headed over to a new-to-us vendor, the Cake & Shake. Maybe we should have headed to this cart first, as they had the protein quota covered with savory cakes that have fillings like ham, sausage, chicken and turkey.


Instead, we chased down our New York Hot Dogs with sinfully rich hot cocoa and scrumptious cupcakes with whimsical names like “Whozeewhatsit.” I might have chosen this one for the name alone, but the milk chocolate cake, caramel mousse, and nougat frosting have me hoping that it will be there when I return. And I didn’t even get around to trying out “Mrs. Incredible.”


One more time, contrapposto!

About my fascination with Nekkid Contrapposto…

I could have gone for “naked men” in the post title, but that would have been a cheap shot.

“Nekkid” offered a wee bit of titillation, but seemed less likely to embarrass my kin. And yet, “contrapposto” had my heart. I just discovered this word, and I looove saying it over and over again. The word has such a lovely ring, and it has the added benefit of driving my kids nuts.

How to choose? Nekkid or contrapposto? Both!

So there you go, that’s how I ended up with nekkid contrapposto.

Go Find It!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, NY
Museum Parking Available   (Approx. $30/DAY)

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