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Old 27th December 2010   #4
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Re: Renaissance Fair curves

This statement in the original article is particularly significant:

It was as if I'd walked into a time period when a woman was supposed to eat a lot of good food and grow round. Today, in the 1300s, all was well with the world...

In fact, every time period is a time period when women are "supposed to eat a lot of good food and grow round." That is what nature intended, and what it programmed into female DNA.

Little wonder, then, that "all was well with the world" in 1300s. From the standpoint of beauty and the enjoyment of life, all was well with in the world in every era that was more aristocratic than our own. It is only in our own hyper-democratic time period, when we have become exploited by the materialist cabals whom the nobility historically kept in check, and by the ideologies of resentment and their concomitant aesthetics of guilt, that all has gone wrong with the world.

As Erika correctly observes,

Originally Posted by Erika
The clothes of the Middle Ages and Renaissance were definitely designed to look and feel better on fuller figures.

The fashions of the time were predicated on every element of what we now call the "New Femininity" in fashion (which isn't "new" at all, but a revival of timeless principles).

For example, consider the painting titled Three Sisters (c.1520), by the Italian Renaissance artist Palma Vecchio. It clearly exhibits the body-as-fashion-accessory principle of female clothing. The dresses are cut very wide, to show off the abundant fullness of the sisters' necks and shoulders. The girls exhibit plump curves under their chins (which the artist has lovingly depicted) and lavish fleshiness around the shoulders and upper chest areas. The garments also hint at buxom décolletage. The viewer perceives the sensual weight of the bodies under the fabric. The clothing is designed to frame the sisters' points of beauty, which are the visible indications of their well-fed physiques. This pro-plus aesthetic is emblematic of the Renaissance.

Click to enlarge

Such appreciation of full-figured femininity was a Western universal at the time, and extended to the Northern Renaissance as well. This painting of The Death of Lucretia (1518) by Lucas Cranach the Elder is a truly magnificent depiction of plus-size beauty and of the Renaissance aesthetic. Lucretia is one of the tropes that artists throughout Western history have invoked in order to celebrate female attractiveness, and observe how seductively heavy a model for Lucretia the artist selected, a girl exhibiting "a body of rounded, curvaceous, fleshier-than-fleshy proportions," as the Renaissance Faire article put it.

Click to enlarge

A close-up shows this painting to be an unreserved celebration of opulence, both in this physical person of Lucretia and in the sumptuousness of her jewellery. Cranach depicts her as a woman whose stunning beauty has entitled her to a life of wealth and luxuriance, a husband who has lavished her with the priciest of gifts. She wears not one, not two, but three necklaces, all thick and heavy with gold. Her plump facial features show her love of self-indulgence, from her "apple-cheeked" appearance (as described in the original article in this post) to an intoxicatingly full curve under her chin. This is a young woman of alluring greed, who clearly enjoys all that life has to offer, who cannot get enough of everything--from food to jewels to love--and still craves more. Even her bejeweled hairstyle, while an updo, is rich and ornate. Although the subject matter is Lucretia's suicide (occasioned by the villainy of a contemporary miscreant), which explains her sorrowful gaze, Cranach mitigates the tragedy by indicating that this Lucretia was copiously blessed with beauty and wealth, has lived for unrestrained pleasure, and has received it in abundance.

Click to enlarge

These Renaissance images celebrate the ideal of femininity that is indigenous to Europe, both north and south, and was the dominant standard of beauty prior to the world wars of the past century, which terminated the aristocratic governance of the continent and took the media out of European hands as well.

For a moment, the women who participate in these Renaissance Faires escape the rootless, alien culture that our modern media has instituted, and return to a time when the powers that be were in tune with natural human inclinations.

Yet our culture as a whole can revive the best aspects of the 1300s, and of every era prior to the modern age. We in the West can reject the "aesthetics of guilt" and rediscover our Old World ethnic heritage.

Today, in a sense, we are all of us like fish out of water, living in a media culture that is not ours, that reflects different values than our own, and is incompatible with our natures. But we can recapture the more harmonious and agreeable environment of the past--of the Renaissance, for example--and live in that happier world once more.

- Renaissance Beauty

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