August 4, 2015

Keep calm & smile on – perfect beauty does not exist

Talking about ideal beauty – from the perspectives of art, statistics or even general human perception – what can be said for sure is that it doesn’t exist. If we are to observe the variety of facial shapes and figures that have been in fashion over the millennia, we can rest assured when thinking that everyone, with any physical traits, has at one time been a model of beauty or will inevitably, sooner or later, become one. It is almost a beauty theory of relativity…

In Antiquity, Nefertiti was considered to have a pure beauty grace to her – how else but perfect – symmetrical features and harmonious makeup. Centuries later, Rubensian did not describe a slightly fuller body but the – perfect – proportions of the artist’s beautiful lover. In the 1800s, ankles were the only parts of the body that could be labelled as perfect, since they were the most intimate and sensual stretch of skin to be revealed in what could be called a prude society. Then came 3 perfect beauties of their own times, Marilyn Monroe – with sensuous shapes, Twiggy – glorifying a virtual lack of shapes and Michelle Obama, when shape without meaning – health, strength and an active lifestyle – no longer mean a thing.

And even if we don’t associate the concept beauty with arguably very different times, we can look at the contemporary notion from markedly different perspectives:

! there is beauty measured by phisycal harmony, symmetry and proportions vs beauty shining through personality, intelligence, grace, charisma, integrity and elegance

! there is beauty resting on a good genetic makeup vs beauty boosted by youth plus a strong input of estrogen

! beauty submitted to the system of appreciating the ideal facial features based on

the face being 1.5 times longer than wide, the distance between the hair line and the spot between the eyes being equal to that from the spot between the eyes to the tip of the nose as well as that from the tip of the nose to the chin, all while the length of the earlobe needs to be equal to that of the nose and the width of the eye to equal the distance between the eyes


the much more simplified charting of the distance between the pupils being 46% of the width of the face and the distance between the pupils and the mouth 36% from the height of the face

perfect beauty Madonna

! the golden ratio beauty – from Greek Antiquity until today, ’’nature’s number’’ π= 1.618 present as many times as possible in the face measurements of a person indicates they have a beauty proportionally closer to perfection


the Vitruvian Man beauty – Leonardo da Vinci, elaborating on architect Marcus Vitruvius’ idea, defined the perfect body as one that can be simultaneously framed by the two perfect shapes in the universe – the circle and the square – with the head measuring a 10th of the person’s height and the length of their outstretched arms being equal to it

Vitruvian Man

The Vitruvian Man, Leonardo da Vinci (1485)

! then there is natural beauty vs makeup beauty vs plastic surgery beauty vs Photoshop beauty

perfect beauty

Is further perspective still necessary for finally setting aside this ideal that we aren’t even able to define? By just looking at people in the street, we can see that the world is full of beautiful women. And still just 8% of the planet’s female population has an hourglass figure.

Standards, preferences and fantasies – they might all change, but also does the human body. In the years 2000 compared with the 1950s, women have, on average, an additional 6 inches around their waist, are taller and have bigger breasts.

So if the great theory of relativity isn’t able to provide us with comfort, at least the fact that certain natural evolutions are unexpectedly positive should do it 😉

And in order to conclude on an optimistic note, here are a few original .gifs made by photo editor Lauren Wade and that shine the correct light on the whole matter of beauty and perfection.

perfect beauty

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus (1486)

perfect beauty

Raphael, Three Graces (1504-1505)

perfect beauty

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Grande Odalisque (1814)


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