How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals

How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Titian, Danae With Eros (1544)

Modern standards of beauty, influenced by skinny fashion models and Photoshopped celebrities in glossy magazines, dictate that thin is in. But it wasn't always that way.

To shed light to the unrealistic body ideals created by virtual scalpels, photo editor Lauren Wade has taken her Photoshop tools to famous paintings that feature iconic images of female beauty. By perking up breasts, pulling in waists, creating thigh gaps and smoothing out blemishes, Wade shows just how extreme Photoshop culture has become.

"While the conversation about the media's portrayal and obsession with an unrealistic and unattainable beauty standard is not a new one, I think it's crazy how much retouching people don’t notice," Wade wrote at TakePart. "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."

This is not the first time that someone has noticed the stark differences regarding who has been considered beautiful over the centuries. Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano examined the phenomenon in her "Venus" project a few years ago.

"What would have happened if the aesthetic standard of our society had belonged to the collective unconscious of the great artists of the past?" Giordano asked at the time, according to Flavorwire. The project made Flavorwire's Marina Galperina "wonder if the girls of yesteryear — the ones with the skinny forms idolized by today’s fashion industry — would have stared up at the comparatively Rubenesque builds of the pin-ups of their day with envy."

A recent surge in listicles, ad campaigns and crusades against airbrushing has drawn attention to the pervasive presence of Photoshop and the effect it has on beauty standards, body image and self-confidence. By hacking away at Renaissance art's most beautiful bodies, Wade shows just how normalized airbrushed women have become. We might not notice it on the cover of a glossy magazine, but it's a lot more alarming to contrast Wade's before and after images.

Standards of female beauty are ever-changing — just compare 1920s Coco Chanel, 1950s Marylin Monroe, 1960s Twiggy, 1990s Pamela Anderson and 2010s Victoria Beckham. Bootylicious Botticellis and Modiglianian mamasitas may not have ever fit into a size zero — but therein lies their beauty.

Titian, Danaë With Eros (1544)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Titian, Danae With Eros (1544)

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Grande Odalisque (1814)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Grande Odalisque (1814)

Edgar Degas, La Toilette (1884-86)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals -Edgar Degas, La Toilette (1884-86)

Raphael, Three Graces (1504-1505)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Raphael, Three Graces (1504-1505)

Paul Gauguin, Two Tahitian Women (1899)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Paul Gauguin, Two Tahitian Women (1899)

Francisco Goya, Nude Maya (1797-1800)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Francisco Goya, Nude Maya (1797-1800)

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus (1486)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus (1486)

Amedeo Modigliani, Nude Sitting on a Divan (1917)
How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals - Amedeo Modigliani, Nude Sitting on a Divan (1917)

Sources: Lauren Wade, TakePart via Polymic

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How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals How Women in Iconic Paintings Would Look if They Got Photoshopped to Fit Today's Ideals Reviewed by Katerina Pap on 5:09 AM Rating: 5

14 comments

  1. How ironic is it that these paintings are, in my opinion, representative of a healthy woman's body, more so than mass published modern photographs.

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  2. Why are people even doing this? Women will never look like that photoshopped shit :I

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  3. Thing is dey r cute d shitty photoshop made em ugly.lol

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  4. Am I supposed to find them less attractive or less healthy thinner? I don't. We don't live short lives nor have as many offspring as we used to. Longevity without chronic, preventable disease is important now, as it's possible now.

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    1. Really? That's the best you could muster? Do you feel the same way when you see women tanning? This must mean you are not up to par in regards to current health statistics and should not preach them. Tanning is responsible for more cancer now than smoking. Doctors have been using the term "epidemic", yet, so many of these people who try to preach health in regards to weight tan or do not use proper sun protection. You are probably one of these people. You probably use weight to justify yourself to feel superior, but probably have engaged in tanning, unsafe sexual behavior, binge drinking, etc. I just wish people who constantly preached this would take any other category of health seriously so you could take then seriously, but their proven lack of knowledge and predictable, cliche replies with no actual medical knowledge is so much more amusing. Am I supposed to find this attractive? Because I don't. God. That's seriously what matters. Duh.

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  5. There's nothing wrong with being really lean and fit. My wife and I are both really lean and exercise often. To me they look better because they look healthier, in most cases. A couple were a bit overdone. Seems like it's popular these days to crucify skinnies. It's not unrealistic to be really lean. You just have to work hard and eat right. Your body will thank you.

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    1. OMG IT IS SO EASY ISN'T IT
      WE'RE ALL SO PROUD OF YOU

      show me one example of someone looking healthier in the above images after the superficial makeover

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  6. eh some of these look good both ways others no way. personally i prefer the "birth of venus" the way it was originally painted. the only other one i recognize is "Titian, Danaë With Eros" and frankly i like it either way. i like the old style cause its the original but i like the photoshopped version cause it looks like a refreshed version of a good original. the others i haven't seen before but some of them look good either or. though this is not to say that one is better than the other, i simply look at the photoshopped version as a separate painting.

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  7. Most painters who painted robots figures were in fact vegetarians and lived long lives by restricting calories, they observed through disection of corpses, although illegal, striving to understand and envision correct anatomy, found clogged veins and necrotic hearts and tissues.

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  8. most look better photoshopped to be honest

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    1. Most photoshopped look like a twelve year old girl. If you like 12 year old girls, I think you have a problem.

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  9. The Photoshop is incomplete. Any time a woman is thinner her breasts are reduced. Here they were all left the same size. Fail.

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  10. @NewTrackRecord has it right. These don't do much to get the point across. the images are edited to be as if Photoshopped for a modern image, but they disfigure in such an unrealistic way, they discredit themselves.

    You slipped in expectations, but put it back to how they would actually be edited.
    Cassey Ho's 'The "Perfect" Body' -- does it better putting it back into "expectations". She says why those changes were made, and puts it back on peer's expectation and jabs/teasing.

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