What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

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What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:21 pm

What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

A website that reduces the waistlines and curves of nudes in famous paintings has something powerful to say about our modern ideals of beauty


Botticelli's The Birth of Venus as madeover by the artist Anna Utopia Giordano. But what's changed? Compare with the original below. Photograph: annautopiagiordano.it

Botticelli's Venus is quite slender by the standards of Italian Renaissance nudes. Floating towards us on her shell, she seems perfectly proportioned. And she is. But what happens if you play around with a reproduction of this beloved painting on your computer and reduce her waistline to meet the demands of a modern catwalk or magazine? Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano did – and the results, online at annautopiagiorani.it, are shocking and grotesque. They make you realise how remote in attitudes to the body the great nudes of art are from contemporary ideals of beauty, and how bizarre and limiting our own perspective is.


The original Botticelli Birth of Venus … those hips, that stomach! Photograph: Uffizi Gallery in Florence/Corbis

Some people would say that a painting like Titian's Venus of Urbino is a pornographic indulgence intended to gratify Renaissance princes in a coarse and carnal way. There is truth in that – when Titian was working on a later, even more sensual nude, the patron was assured it would "make the Venus of Urbino look like a nun". But if fleshly paintings are high-class erotica, this digital experiment shows they offer a far more inclusive, natural vision of the sexy than what is promoted in adverts and celebrity voyeurism today. As is obvious from the "skinny" version, the original Venus of Urbino has plenty of flesh on her. Titian's friend, Aretino, said Venetian men (such as Titian) love "tits and arses and sumptuous flesh".

As a matter of fact, there are Renaissance nudes that are just as skinny as any fashion designer could demand. The German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder portrayed strikingly thin and narrow-waisted nudes. His Venus believed you could never be too bony or wear too many hats. But he was a close friend of Martin Luther, and believed the body to be a vessel of sin. Those sensual Italians had a more abundant and generous idea of beauty.

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:26 pm

Art's great nudes have gone skinny

Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano has taken some great (and, to be honest, not so great) paintings of nudes from the past and reimagined what they would look like if their bodies conformed to what the 21st-century thinks of as an ideal of beauty. The results are revealing – and quite shocking in what they say about our modern attitudes to women's bodies

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 11 March 2012

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:28 pm


Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, complete with hips, thighs and tummy. Photograph: Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Corbis

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:30 pm


And Botticelli's Venus updated by Anna Utopia Giordano. Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:33 pm


Angelo Bronzino's Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time. Photograph: National Gallery, London/Corbis

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:35 pm


Bronzino's Venus loses her curves in her 21st-century makeover. Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:38 pm


Alexandre Cabanel: The Birth of Venus. Photograph: The Gallery Collection/Corbis

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:41 pm


Cabanel's Venus is considerably lighter. Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:46 pm


Artemisia Gentileschi: The Sleeping Venus. Photograph: Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation, New Jersey

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:50 pm


Gentileschi's Venus still sleeps, but she's not quite the woman she used to be. Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:53 pm


Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres: Venus Anadyomene. Photograph: Bridgeman Art Library

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:56 pm


Ingres' Venus is now more girlish, her proportions skewed. Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:59 pm


Velazquez: The Toilet of Venus (AKA Venus and Cupid or the Rokeby Venus). Photograph: Hulton Archives/getty

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:03 am


Where has Velazques's sumptuousness gone? Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:06 am


Titian: The Venus of Urbino. Photograph: Uffizi Gallery, Florence/Corbis

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Re: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models?

Post  eddie on Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:09 am


Titian's Venus reimagined by Anna Utopia Giordano. Photograph: www.annautopiagiordano.it

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