February 14, 2012

Great beauties of Renaissance art, slimmed down, via Photoshopping.

By Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano, supposedly demonstrating how tastes have changed.

Quite aside from the passage of time, taste in beauty has something to do with whether the model will be dressed or nude. As a former art-school student, I've done numerous "life drawing" classes, and good as thin models look in clothes, they make terrible nudes. As I blogged back in '05, if I wanted to draw landscapes, I'd go to the mountains, not the plains.

22 comments:

DADvocate said...

Looks like in most, he made the hips and waist slimmer but left the breasts the same size. That's cheating.

Ann Althouse said...

"Looks like in most, he made the hips and waist slimmer but left the breasts the same size. That's cheating."

She... but I see your point, and why you assumed "he."

Maybe they got breast implants.

Skyler said...

He made them scrawny, not prettier. He removed flab and left emaciation. Modern beauty would include some healthy muscle tone. Not bulging muscles, but normal, healthy physiques.

chuck said...

I'm hopelessly old fashioned. I look at the thin ladies and wonder how they can walk with those pipe stem thin, thighs and calves.A google search turned up MyBodyGallery. Worth exploring.

Quasimodo said...

To my eyes, the idea a beauty has not changed so much in dimensions but in the age of the female forms depicted. The skinny ones looked to be girls in their late teens, while the originals looked to be mature beautiful women.

Peter said...

good as thin models look in clothes, they make terrible nude

There's one way that any woman can look terrific nude.

DADvocate said...

why you assumed "he."

Yeah. Didn't read the post closely. Women seem more obsessed with skinniness than men. It's gotten to be a truism that women dress, etc to impress other women, not men.

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ricpic said...

Botticelli's Venus is "plump?" Hell no, she's what a healthy woman should look like.

pm317 said...

This reminds me of the differences between temple dancer sculptures in Indian temples versus those in Southeast Asia with Hindu influence like Cambodia and others. Their dancers are skinnier. These relics are mostly from 10-11 century I think.

India vs. SE Asia

Pogo said...

It makes no sense that the the hips would have become any smaller.

Beauty may be slimmer of weight and perhaps muscle mass is less, but the skeletons are actually taller and larger than during the Renaissance.

Hips would only be slimmer if all the women suddenly became nulliparous.

vet66 said...

Rubins is my favorite for nudes. Could not imagine Ally McBeal nude in the Abruzzi region of Italy. Feminine pulchritude exists outside of Hollywood where emaciation is exaggerated by top-heavy models growing old disgracefully.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

There's also the question of painterly craftsmanship. A painter knowingly distorts body proportions in subtle, or not subtle, ways in order to make the painting as an arrangement of shapes, as opposed to the figure in the painting, beautiful. Botticelli didn't give Venus certain proportions just because those happened to be the measurements of his model's body. He stretched, pushed, pulled, shrank,padded, whatever areas of flesh he wanted, in order to harmonize with other pictorial elements. Giordano's revision throws the harmony out of whack, and the painting as a whole ends up looking worse (also the model ends up looking inappropriately Christlike). I wouldn't mind meeting the skinnier one, though. (Art historical/sociological question: did Renaissance sexual tastes and artistic techniques co-evolve to promote great painting? Is the new Botticelli being stifled today because we like skinny models?)

edutcher said...

That's sacrilege.

Ann Althouse said...

"Looks like in most, he made the hips and waist slimmer but left the breasts the same size. That's cheating."

She... but I see your point, and why you assumed "he."

Maybe they got breast implants.


No, then they'd look like they have boulders under their nipples.

Skyler said...

He made them scrawny, not prettier. He removed flab and left emaciation.

Can't speak for the artists shown, but Rubens' models were mostly working girls - servant maids and farm girls, who worked in an era when everything moved by muscle power.

I'm willing to bet there's less flab there than many think.

PS You're right, Quas, most were in their late teens and early 20s.

Darrell said...

Do married guys make these kind of comments because they print them out and hope to get lucky?
"Oh, Hell no! You'd never see me in bed with Saffron Burrows!!!

Or is it repressed cannibalistic urges and too healthy an appetite?

Happy Valentine's Day!

X said...

what's the point of this exercise? I know, but does althouse?

T J Sawyer said...

There's an assumption of a certain western standard of beauty at work here. Stories abound of middle-eastern men complimenting Aemrican women on their ample proportions only to discover that the comment is not appreciated.

The stories are not fiction.

Joe said...

Some of Michelangelo's nude women look like they had really bad implants.

tim maguire said...

There's been some recent research and accidental discovery indicating that natural beauty is much more objective than we'd previously thought.

I disagree that it's changed all that much and find most of those women at least as beautiful, if not more beautiful, in the before than in the after. And I bet I'm not alone.

"You can't be too thin" is a twisted female fantasy. You definitely can be too thin.

X said...

supposedly demonstrating how tastes have changed.

my bad althouse. you do understand.

William said...

The classical women all have girlish, virginal breasts. It's their thighs and hips that are heavier and womanly. Those are not the hips of women who die in childbirth.....What with the improvements in obstetrics, men can now lust after a girlish pelvis......The model for the Botticelli Venus was the Pope's illegitimate daughter.es

R. Chatt said...

Now I know why your photographs are so darn good! You're a trained artist.