Most of the images you see of the Venus of Willendorf–including this one–make the figure look massive, almost threatening with psychic weight. The real thing is something you can hold in your hand, a bit under five inches in height. Since she has, literally, no feet to stand on, perhaps she was meant to be held in the hand. She is very old, as human representative artifacts go, maybe 24,000 years old, found in 1908 in Austria. She was carved of oolitic limestone not native to the place where she was found, and tinted with red ochre. Some have suggested that she was carved from the perspective of a woman looking down at her own body.
We cannot know, except sola fide, as Martin Luther put it, by faith alone, for what purpose the maker shaped the uber-zaftig curves in stone, or who the maker was, or the maker’s gender. Self-portrait or goddess? Sex toy or totem of matriarchy? In current popular culture she is the mother goddess, primordial and chthonic. Being a man of my time, that’s how I take her.