The concept of beauty in the history of art has been very changeable, being different according to the artistic period. There have been as many concepts as stages or artistic movements that have taken place, along with these ideas there were other types of reflections in which beauty was everything that maintained the proper measures and proportions. While many women make real sacrifices with diets and insane gym hours to stay in good shape and conform to the beauty standards imposed by the fashion world, many others have quit doing that and dream of waking up one day in the seventeenth century, where plump women were most appetizing and longed for. Like the fashions and the customs, the standard of feminine beauty had a marked evolution through the centuries. We have gone from venerating plump bodies and porcelain skins to wanting to have the darkest of the skin covering nothing but a pile of bones.
I have selected some of the representative Venuses of each era and explained how the concept of prevailing beauty was personified in them. Since prehistory, men preferred women with large breasts and wide hips, since they were associated with fertility, abundance and the ability to give birth and raise healthy and strong children. Going into the Middle Ages, we began to see how the model of beauty depended on God, uniting proportions with the proper use of light and color. It is in this era when a spiritual and a material beauty is differentiated and when the “ugly” is considered beautiful because it is also God’s creation and is the counterpoint of the beautiful.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, the beauty of antiquity was seen, but subjectivism began to be given importance, both by the author and the spectator. Idea that is settling in the following centuries in which the concept of beauty is going through different stages to reach our days when consumerism and the mass media make this concept continuously changing and globalized. During the Renaissance era we only have to pay attention to the paintings of the artists of the time, rounded bodies, thin hands and feet, small firm breasts, red complexion and rosy cheeks, red lips, long blond hair, clear forehead and large, clear eyes.
During the Victorian era what really catches the attention is the use of corsets to maximize the waist and enhance the bust and hips. These tight elements left many women breathless, causing fainting or even death by the deformation of the thorax, which ends up squeezing the vital organs. On the other hand, in addition to the abundance of jewelry, it was at this time that the modern concept of makeup became known. Although by that time, men and women painted on their faces a black mole that, depending on their position, could have one or another meaning. During the 20th century with all its movements such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism represent constant changes in the concept of beauty, from a woman with sinuous forms to a masculinizing one, a fascist woman made to be mothers, and finally women always thin, sterilized and young. This gave rise to the development of the twentieth-century art, although there are influences of previous movements.
Overall, woman has been adapting to the different standards of beauty since the birth of humanity and although they have reached levels of unimaginable freedoms, they are still victims of the concept of beauty prevailing in the world. that they have to submit to be accepted and have social success. The beauty of women went through different stages, from a woman who begins to free herself from corset and entanglement towards a free and sensual, emancipated woman, who shows her body, which is insinuated, which is practical, with ornaments that they are functional, women who pass from the figure of matrons to stylized, beautiful and young female figures.
Throughout history, the concept of beauty has evolved, and when we move through the halls of a museum we can see that little has to do with the primitive prehistoric forms with the purity of the Middle Ages, the perfection of Renaissance proportions or baroque voluptuousness. Purity, provocation, harmony, voluptuousness, exaltation of breasts, hips, or facial features have evolved in the history of art. It’s important to say that beauty is an abstract notion linked to numerous aspects of human existence; and this idea has been very changeable throughout the history of art. From the existence of humanity and the formation of culture, mental and emotional qualities have been taken, whose characteristics have been represented in sculptures and paintings to contemplate them, this is how art arises among other things.