Beautiful Bodies

Beautiful Bodies

From voluptuous curves to corseted waists, the female body has been celebrated in all shapes and sizes.

 

Left: Pin-Up in a Yellow Bathing Suit/ Billy DeVorss Right: "Suzanne au Bain", opalescent glass statuette by Lalique © Bonhams
Left: Pin-Up in a Yellow Bathing Suit/ Billy DeVorss
Right: “Suzanne au Bain”, opalescent glass statuette by Lalique © Bonhams

January is traditionally considered the time to kick-start diet and fitness regimes to achieve body beautiful. In an age of fad diets, de-toxing and body obsession, one has to wonder where this fixation with the ‘perfect’ female physique was born.

The female figure has been a central object of Western art since pre-historic times: from the superbly crafted Venus of Willendorf to Botticelli‘s nudes and Titian’s ravishing lovers.

left:   Venus and Cupid with a Lute Player/ Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) Right:   Statuette of a woman, c.550-700 AD
Left: Venus and Cupid with a Lute Player/ Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Right: Statuette of a woman, c.550-700 AD

In fact, the Flemish-Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens– whose exhibition ‘Rubens and His Legacy’  opens on 24th January 2015 at the Royal Academy of Arts– is perhaps one of the most prominent examples of a painter able to glorify the raw beauty of the female body. His fleshy and voluptuous female nudes coined a phrase still used to describe women with a fuller figure – ‘Rubenesque’.

The Three Graces, c.1636-39 (oil on canvas) by Rubens, Prado, Madrid
The Three Graces, c.1636-39 (oil on canvas) by Rubens, Prado, Madrid

Find out more:

See more images of the female form in art, culture and history.

All images in this article are sourced from www.bridgemanimages.com.

Contact the Bridgeman sales team (uksales@bridgemanimages.com) for more information regarding licensing, reproduction and copyright issues.

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