The Nature of Beauty

At the AAS last weekend Mom and I happened across two pastel nudes by the same artist. Both were the same pose (straight back view from just below the buttocks to just below the shoulders).

One of them was a typical view of beauty as media would have us accept. The woman was very thin, with rounded buttocks and thighs that were so thin they didn’t meet. The image had an unreal airbrushed look to it. It was a very nice picture, executed well and had a flawless look. My mothers first reaction when she saw it was “I wish I had a figure like that” and mine, if I was to admit it to myself was too.

The other one was placed lower and off to the side. The woman in it was not much bigger than the first one, her waist was a slight bit thicker and her hips were slightly wider. She had some gravity around the skin at the back. Just a slight gravity, a looseness of skin that happens as we mature. You could see a covering of fat over the spine and the shape it creates. And you could see a slight speckling of cellulite carefully executed by the artist. The execution of this picture was magnificent. The technique in both pieces were exquisite.

I entered into a discussion with mom at this moment as she barely looked at it. I could not take my eyes away. Critically I looked at them both. The technique was the same on both but where the other was merely a nice picture of a pretty girl, the other one was beauty. Needless to say mom did not get what I meant, blinded by the need in her mind to conform to a certain look (we have argued about this, we both suffer from eating disorders, I am working on mine, she still is in denial) I wondered how many other people felt that way and how many people saw the other as the genuine beauty it was.

I found myself wondering what the artist was thinking about – was this intentional? Was it a comment? Was it the same girl modified to media standards and shown as she really was? Or was it really just pictures of two girls executed as they really are with no intention behind them? I hope not.

Is perfection beauty or is beauty in the imperfections that create character? I know what I believe.

Anyway I feel better about myself now and that it a Good Thing.

4 thoughts on “The Nature of Beauty

  1. After years and years of life drawing I thought it was worth pointing out that drawing supposedly bigger woman is a lot easier and a lot nicer than drawing skinny gals.
    Having said that however I’m not going to be silly enough to say “Oh I much prefer woman with a bit of meat on them, something to hold onto and all”, because I believe that whatever you’re shaped with is what you’ve got to work with.
    I spent years in high school trying to work out how the footy boys were so tall and hairless and muscular and Australian, while I was this robust hairy type.
    Anyway – my thinking is that you should be happy with what you’ve got, and if you’re not there are some pretty simple ways to change it (diet and excercise and other crazy things like that).

  2. The interesting thing is that the second subject was not a big girl. she was a size 10 if the other was a size 8.

    The rest I am not going into as that is a whole other can of worms in my psyche!

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