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Old 30th October 2005   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default The Pinacotheca--a work in progress

(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, May 11th, 2004.)

To answer the question that many of you will be asking, a pinacotheca is "a place for the keeping and exhibition of pictures and other works of art" (to quote the infallible OED). The word appears in similar forms in German, Italian, and French--which is one of the reasons why we chose it as the name of our new online art museum.

That museum is still very much in the developmental stage, with representative works functioning as temporary "placeholders" for many artistic periods. Apart from the Antiquity collection, we can safely say that the best galleries (Titian, Rubens, etc.) are yet to come. But one of our goals in opening the Pinacotheca at this time is to give readers an idea of what the historical Helen of Troy may have looked like. And contemporary sculptures indicate that any woman whose beauty would have been renowned throughout the ancient world (as Helen's was) would have more closely resembled a plus-size model than a boyishly-thin, celluloid sylph.

Now that the magnificent Art Renewal Center ( is online, one could argue that no other online art resource is necessary. And that may be true. However, we offer our Pinacotheca primarily as a supplement to the ARC. It will comprise a collection of images of timeless feminine beauty throughout the ages--images which may inspire modern audiences in many different ways.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, c.190 B.C.:

- The Judgment of Paris Pinacotheca

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Old 30th October 2005   #2
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Re: The Pinacotheca--a work in progress

(Originally posted on The Judgment of Paris Forum, May 16th, 2004, as a follow-up to the above comments.)

This project arose both out of love, and out of sheer frustration. It suddenly dawned on us just how ridiculous it was to be poring over mass-market fashion glossies every month, hoping to find at least one, single, tiny image of a plus-size model tucked away in a corner somewhere. And once Myrna Blyth's damning expose, Spin Sisters, revealed that the "mixed messages" in said magazines were not the result of editors not knowing any better, but rather, of a calculated effort at amplifying and exploiting women's insecurities, we realized that a healthier source of beautiful images was badly needed.

Also disturbing on the magazine front is how the most "progressive" periodicals cynically reinforce the false duality of "glamorous beauty vs. homely reality." For their fashion spreads, they still resort to straight-size models decked out in exciting clothing, enhanced by all of the cosmetic adornments that the top hair/makeup artists can provide, and shot in the most favourable manner possible by the world's greatest fashion photographers. But for topics related to size, they offer "reality" (i.e., unattractive, non-professional models, presented it in the most unappealing manner possible). This leaves the deck aesthetically stacked in favour of the anorex-chic standard, at the expense of plus-size beauty.

Throughout Western history, full-figured femininity was neither a marginal standard, nor a representation of "reality," but, rather, the dominant ideal of womanly beauty. Hopefully, the Pinacotheca will reveal that suppressed truth to contemporary readers--trapped as they are within the ideological walls of the modern world.

Titian, Flora, c.1520-22:

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