The women plastered around today’s billboards and magazine ads adhere to a very particular standard of beauty, one that, in real life, is nearly impossible to achieve. From size 0 waists to flawless complexion, contemporary “ideal” women resemble plastic mannequins more than the ladies you’d encounter, you know, in real life. Here to drive the point home is Lauren Wade, with the help of some of art history’s most beloved nudes.
Wade, a senior photo editor for TakePart, wondered what would happen if the nude muses of artists like Titian and Raphael were exposed to the pressures of women today. Like many a fashion model before them, these painted nudes get the photoshop treatment, transforming them from “Odalesque” to modelesque. Wade nips and tucks at their natural curves and “extraneous” flesh until Raphael’s “Three Graces” look like Marc Jacobs models.
“Whether it’s tucking tummies, contouring jaw lines, enlarging eyes and lips, brushing out cellulite, or full-out head swapping, I’ve seen it all as a photo editor,” Wade explained on TakePart. To show just how much body modification goes unnoticed, she took to the classics we know and love. “We’ve taken a digital liquefy brush to the painstakingly layered oils of some of the most celebrated paintings of the female form, nipping and tucking at will. There may be something sacrilegious in that, but the same could be said for our contemporary ideas of beauty.”
Needless to say, something is definitely lost when the contours of the skin, and all the light and shadow that play on its surface, are cut away and toned to a plasticky finish. The startling GIFs show just how much our perception of beauty has changed over the past centuries, and as well as how extreme today’s “norm” truly is. When it comes to beautiful bodies, we’re siding with Botticelli every time. Head toTakePart to see more nudes go under the photoshop knife.