Definition of contrapposto in English:



  • An asymmetrical arrangement of the human figure in which the line of the arms and shoulders contrasts with, while balancing, those of the hips and legs.

    • ‘The preferred figure type was more mature and monumental, with contrapposto being used to give movement to the large, solid figures.’
    • ‘Dosso stages Saint George in a poised contrapposto as he stands triumphant over the dragon, who exhales his final puffs of smoke.’
    • ‘The figure is artfully foreshortened, engaging in a sweeping contrapposto to provide a virtuoso ‘frame’ for the sudarium, the origin of all cult images, made without human hands from the face of Christ.’
    • ‘He makes a mockery of David's magnificent contrapposto.’
    • ‘Mouths open, not yet inured to the sight, many adopt the famous sculpture's contrapposto.’


Italian, past participle of contrapporre, from Latin contraponere ‘place against’.