The Venus of Brassempouy, 1909
- 35. MacCurdy, George Grant (1863-1947).
“Recent discoveries bearing on the antiquity of man in Europe.” Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1909. pp. 531-583. Washington: GPO, 1910.
In 1894, a French archaeologist, Edouard Piette (1827-1906), found a small figurine carved out of mammoth ivory in a cave at Brassempouy, France. It was only about one-and-a-half inches tall, and depicted the face of a woman wearing a head covering. This was only the third piece of Paleolithic sculpture depicting the human form ever found, and the first to show a face. It is often referred to now as the Venus of Brassempouy, but at the time it was called the Dame à la Capuche (Lady with the hood). She is one of the most appealing of Paleolithic carvings, with her Mona Lisa hint of a smile, which is an even better trick in this case, since she has no real mouth. She was fashioned about 25,000 years ago.