This wonderful article forms a natural complement to the "Greece Still Loves Curvy Beauty" story
that Melanie posted a little while back. In the case of the Greek article, the writer was larger to begin with, while this story is written by someone who is underweight--but longs to be fuller-figured, and is "pleased" as she becomes so.
Imagine that. What a marvellous reversal of the false world of the media, where emaciated women are idealized, and full-figured goddesses resent the very curves that make them beautiful. In Rome, this writer entered the timeless world, a world permeated by the same healthy values that governed all of Western culture prior to the 20th century, a world where the fuller-figured a vixen is, the most beautiful she is, and where thinner women idealize such goddesses, and long to acquire their opulent curves.
By escaping the artificial environment of Manhattan and immersing herself in a more organic culture, one with deep historical roots, the writer awakened her natural, feminine appetite. She had her aesthetic compass righted, and recognized the appeal of true womanly beauty. The way in which she describes the well-fed women of Italy is unashamedly sensual. When she enthuses so poetically over the women's
flesh spilling over necklines, hips rolling without shame. Their bosoms don't appear to be man-made either, and they are on display,
she is specifically praising the figure features that these women acquired through uninhibited self-indulgence, through the pleasure of eating freely.
How fitting that these two articles, one praising the endurance of feminine beauty in Greece, the other in Italy, should have been published in close proximity. After all, the ancient Roman Empire so fell in love with Classical civilization that it appropriated its entire pantheon of gods and goddesses, its building style, its art, its architecture, and especially its feminine beauty ideal, and spread that ideal throughout the world. Most of the sculpture of Antiquity is known to us only through Roman copies. The West owes Rome for what we have of Greece. It is not surprising that the Classical ideal should have endured, even into the modern day, in these two nations, with their interwoven history.
It is also fitting and symbolic that the authors of both of these articles, one writing from Greece, one from Rome, should have had their appreciation for voluptuous beauty reawakened by visiting those lands. Similarly, Western culture as a whole could rediscover the timeless ideal by revisiting its Antique origins. Today's plus-size models are the intermediaries, the latter-day Aphrodites and Venuses and DanaŽs, who bring that Classical ideal to life and make it tangible for us in the present day. We should all turn to them for inspiration, and be guided by their beauty toward an aesthetic restoration.
DanaŽ Receiving the Golden Rain, (c.1553-54) by the Italian master of the High Renaissance, Titian. Observe the well-fed luxuriance of DanaŽ's figure, its untoned softness, the swell of her abdomen, her lush thighs and plump calves. Her physique appears to be as soft as the pillows on which she reclines so indolently, so seductively lazily. In a larger scan, one sees that even her face is full. She possesses the "overspilling flesh" and "rolling hips" that the writer of the above article celebrates as emblematic of Italian beauty. Imagine the many "three-course lunches, consumed at leisure," the "antipasto, pasta and secondi (preferably a slab of osso buco or a filet), followed by a dolce" (as described in the article) that the model would have consumed eagerly, greedily, to attain such a curvaceous figure, knowing that her self-indulgence was only making her more beautiful.
In place of the "meagre" world all around us, we can restore the softer, more pleasurable, more beautiful world of this DanaŽ. All it takes is the will to make it happen.
- Titian's five versions of this theme