**click artwork to enlarge**
(collage and oil painting, 6X8, 2009)
"Flapper Cameo, collage portrait of a Flapper in a green hat"
This portrait of a Flapper in a green hat was inspired by a photo I stumbled upon in my search for the 1920s style hats. I love the fact that unlike in my childhood I now have the whole world at the tips of my fingers. As a kid I was fascinated with old photos and old portraits of people from different time periods, but I had to go to a museum or a library in order to see them. No more!
As if my magic I can bring up countless samples illustrating the visual transformations in people's physical appearances from century to century. Have you ever noticed that human bodies and faces change with every generation and so do the beauty standards? Although my generation is composed of many different types of women, it praises anorexic-looking women with curves (sounds like an oxymoronic concept, right?). My mother's generation liked their women tall and long-legged and interestingly enough most of my mom's friends possessed those qualities. My grandmother lived during the time when shorter, full-bosomed gals were desirable. Renaissance men admired women who were full-figured with delicate facial features. Medieval women were big-nosed and pretty unattractive by our standards and yet the Medieval men sang praises to their small-eyed puffy-faced beauty. Of course there is a chance that the Medieval artists were not all that great at their craft and couldn't be trusted to have accurately represented the dames of their time. But I digress…
Does it not make you wonder how many women who were not considered beautiful in their own time would've been called gorgeous in ours and vise versa? One of my favorite fairytales is a story by Alexander Kuprin called "The Blue Star". It's a story about a princess who was born so ugly that her father ordered for all the mirrors in his kingdom to be smashed, so she could never find out just how ugly she was. When the princess grows up she meets a man (who turns out to be a prince from another kingdom) who is also incredibly ugly. She falls in love with him and marries him. The king is pleased that they found each other, (for the obvious reason). The newlyweds travel to the prince's kingdom, where the princess finds out that she is considered to be incredibly beautiful by her husband's countrymen and people like her own countrymen are the ones revered as ugly by their standards.
The moral of the story is... If you're overweight look up some art by Rubens. If you have small eyes check out Holbein's paintings. For long faces refer to the Velasquez' infanta portraits. The important thing is to remember that although you might not be considered a beauty by conventional modern standards at some point you would've been a knockout! …and trust me when I tell you that if you would've been considered a knockout at any time period it means that there are plenty of people who are going to feel like that about you in your own time.
"Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art."
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art."