Okay, I can’t even really say that facetiously. Sorry. My sarcasm is broken.
So Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano undertook a project to redesign many of art history’s greatest nude paintings, in order to bring them into closer alignment with how “beauty” is defined by today’s society. The result is a number of paintings of beautiful women who are, simply put, beautiful for completely different reasons.
My initial reaction was one of horror, akin to seeing someone remake Casablanca to have a happier (or sadder) ending. The more I thought about the project, though, the more I figure these remakes are simply different — different women, different ideals, products of different times. None are absurdly skinny, none are impossibly posed, none are gratuitously explicit. I guess what I’m saying here is, all of these women are possible.
And yet, I look back at the originals, and they’re beautiful too. The paintings, and the subjects.
I’m fairly certain every painting of Venus used in this project involved a nude model. I don’t have much in the way of art history training, but this much seems fairly self-evident in the uniqueness involved in each painting’s depiction of the goddess of beauty. The reimaginings, I expect, simply modified the originals rather than working from new models.
So, beauty evolves over time. What each society values in terms of beauty seems to be dependent almost wholly on the zeitgeist of the day. In times of scarcity, healthier-looking women are often considered beautiful — see some examples. In times of plenty, evidently skinnier women are prioritized.
It’s really not difficult to see beauty in just about any shape or size a human might come in. Even extreme outliers, while off-putting initially, can be seen as beautiful if given the right chance.
Anyway, what do you folks think?