Erich Lessing

This faceless figurine, with milk-filled breasts, an exaggerated belly and swelling buttocks, seems an image of contented fertility. The so-called Venus of Willendorf, a 4-inch-high limestone statuette carved about 28,000 years ago and originally covered with red ochre, was found near modern Krems, Austria. One of the oldest sculptures made by modern humans, the Venus reveals the skill and imagination possessed very early on by our direct ancestors.