We all know that the women we see in editorial and advertising have been digitally altered to fit an ideal. Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano’s work applies these same techniques to the artworks that shaped beauty ideals through history. She takes iconic images of the female nude and edits them to match our modern-day aesthetic. It’s not surprising that the women in her revised versions are much thinner, or that their breasts appear augmented (either by Giordano’s hand or just by comparison). They also look less powerful and more vulnerable. But I was most surprised by how much younger they look. The real versions look like adult women. Giordano’s look like teenage girls.
See a larger version and more images after the jump.
Beauty ideals are influenced by many different things—cultural climate and economic conditions, among others. The women in the original paintings were reflecting an atmosphere where body abundance was a good thing. There was no obesity epidemic. There was no medical research on the negative effect of excessive weight on the body. But these women are not obese, or even overweight. They look a lot like an average woman.
This project calls attention to some disturbing issues about how our beauty ideals have evolved. Clearly, it is unrealistic to expect grown bodies to look likegrowing bodies. But it also seems relevant to the sexualization of increasingly younger girls. People often argue that this actually makes sense because fertility is likely to be higher at this point. But considering the complications teenage mothers are more likely to experience (both physically and culturally) I’m not sure this makes evolutionary sense. What does it mean for girls to embody the sexual ideal at such a young age?
See the full series at Flavorwire.
Images: Anna Utopia Giordano