There was a time when women with large hips, broad shoulders, and big, natural breasts were considered the height of beauty. This was long before the modern model era, before heroine chic, before celebrities were defined by arms that were less about being toned and more about showing bone.
Sure, we know that, and while some women today do embrace their natural curves there are plenty of ladies who still desperately try to look like the tiny frames they see in TV, movies and magazines. Part of stigma comes from the Photoshopped images seen in advertisements, where wrinkles, extra skin, and the body’s natural weight can be tweaked in the name of so-called “perfection.”
Enter artist Lauren Wade over at TakePart.com. She’s created a thoughtful series of images where she takes classic paintings — with women that are still described as classic and beautiful to this day — and Photoshops them to see how they would look by our modern standards. Here’s what she says about the project:
Throughout art history, painters from Titian to Rubens to Gauguin found beauty in the bodies of women who would never fit into a size 0. But what would these famous works of art look like were they to conform to today’s Photoshopped standards of beauty? 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.
Check them out in the slide show above and let us know what you think of this study. See all the images in this series here. You can also contact Lauren and see more of her amazing work on TakePart.com.