Definition of contrapposto in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkɒntrəˈpɒstəʊ/

noun (plural contrapposti /ˌkɒntrəˈpɒsti/)

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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Dosso stages Saint George in a poised contrapposto as he stands triumphant over the dragon, who exhales his final puffs of smoke.
  • 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'.

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