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Venus pudica

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Sandro Botticelli - The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus (Botticelli, c. 1485), Uffizi, Florence

Scan © Mark Harden, used with permission
Definition:

(noun) - "Venus pudica" is a term used to describe a classic figural pose in Western art. In this, an unclothed female (either standing or reclining) keeps one hand covering her private parts. (She is a modest lass, this Venus.) The resultant pose - which is not, incidentally, applicable to the male nude - is somewhat asymmetrical and often serves to draw one's eye to the very spot being hidden.

The word "pudica" comes to us by way of the Latin "pudendus", which can mean either external genitalia or shame, or both simultaneously.

Pronunciation: vee·nus pud·ee·kuh
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