The human body whether of a male or female has always inspired artists, although it has been depicted in various forms in artworks created in different periods. Contemporary art recognizes the science-suggested standards of muscle-sculpted upper torso in males and the hour-glass body shape in females as the classic human body forms. Prior to such suggestions, there were different human body shapes that served as inspirations to the earlier generations of visual artists
The Female Body Form and Its Evolution as Reference for Art Works
Today, modern day artists no longer choose human body forms to use as reference based on what society thinks as the perfect body shape. Visual artists can freely draw, paint or sculpt according to their artistic visualizations. In fact, if one is to ask ordinary non-artist people of what is generally considered today as the perfect female figure, many would likely point to the likes of female celebrities like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and even Kim Kardashian as the epitome of women with perfect bodies.
Yet looking back, artists during ancient civilizations and subsequent eras had different concepts on what was considered as the perfect female human body.
In ancient Egypt, the art works depicted the ideal female shape as one that is slender, has narrow shoulders and small waist. The ancient Greeks and Romans were less mindful of the aesthetic qualities of the female body as the male body form drew more attention. Yet if women were to be regarded as having perfect bodies, it was not for art’s sake but for child-bearing purposes, which made being plump and full-bodied as the best female body form
When the Renaissance movement took place, the practice of artistically depicting the human body in its realistic form, included creating art work that presented the human body in the nude. The concept of realism also meant presenting the female body in its natural form, whilst still carrying on with the concept that for a woman to be regarded as sexually attractive, she must be plump and able to bear her husband many children. Renaissance art was more driven by philosophical views of the environment and its culture.
During the Victorian era in the 1800s, plump women were still desirable; but they should at least appear with cinched waists and wearing cleavage-revealing gowns in social gatherings and as models of arts works
As fashion started to evolve during the 1900s, so did the concept of producing icons who will represent the perfect examples of the female body form. The Golden Era of Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1950s, popularized the hour glass curves, large breasts and naturally small waists, Women must strive to achieve perfect body shape and measurement if they wanted to attract attention and perhaps be discovered as a glamorous Hollywood movie star.
In later years, during the 60s, 80s and 90s, the concepts of perfect female form depended on the kind of profession, career or occupation that a woman was in, or at least aspire to be in. The 60s fashion models were long-legged but thin and flat-chested like a child, while the 1980s introduced super models with toned athletic type bodies that at best still look svelte and sexy.
As a result of these changing concepts, women became conscious of keeping their figures slim at a young age, to avoid becoming plump or at worst obese. However, many women began encountering difficulties in gaining enough mass and flesh due to the rigors of academic work or the demands of their occupation.
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