evolution of beauty


With my final painting project I want to copy but abstract three historical paintings that feature a Venus. In this project I am showing how the ideal beauty has changed over time. By taking the curvy, healthy figures that once were the ideal vision of sex appeal and imposing abstracted colors and expressive lines were once were sensuous and supple lines.

            In today’s society according to what is reflected in advertisements, beauty means breast implants, lip injections, color contacts, plastic surgery, and protruding hipbones. We have young girls that truly believe if you can pinch skin off bone, it is fat. The numbers in eating disorders have grown an alarming rate and no one is being held accountable. In this project I am concerned with how once our society valued one type of beauty standard but now values one that looks ill.

            The three paintings I am using are Giorgione’s Dresden Venus, Velasquez’s Venus at her mirror, and Titian’s Venus of Urbino. The women portrayed in the paintings are standard sizes in all respects. They are in standard Venus poses on their sides and looking at the viewer. In the Velasquez painting her back is to the viewer, but she still gazes at the viewer through her reflection in the mirror.


            I am settled on what I will do with the figures as far as keeping the main lines of the figures while making them more hard-edged and expressive. The colors will be that of an abstract expressionist portrait such as Dekooning’s Women. I will use a lot of bright and bold colors that contrast one another to add further uneasiness for the viewer.

            Initially, I assumed I would recreate the entire painting so to make it clear what I was copying. Conceptually, I want to emphasize the women so I may have an abstracted background that will almost consume the figure. It would also be interesting to paint the background close to its original by keeping the lines in place but not spending a lot of time on painting it exactly because it is a new era. Since I want to paint on canvas and have already prepped said canvas, I could project the image onto the canvas and draw the lines lightly so to get the formal elements properly placed.ImageImageImage

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