When we think of female beauty in art through the ages, we might recall the robust beauties of Rubens, the soft gentility and femininity of the women painted by Monet and Seurat, the graceful ballerinas of Degas, the sexuality of Goya women, the naturalism of Gauguin and the abstract compilations of women
by Picasso.

Many great artists found women among their favorite subjects: Ingres, Renoir, Manet, Modigliani, Delacroix, Rodin, Dali. And, who painted the most famous woman in history? The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci around 1503 may be, if not the most beautiful, certainly the most famous and mysterious portrait of a woman.

Male beauty has also been captured in art through the ages; think Michelangelo’s famous statue of David or the ancient Greek demigod, Heracles. Then, of course, we have our own Superman. Recently, I asked a group of men to ponder their idea of a beautiful or handsome man that came to mind in their lifetime and after a few minutes of honest deliberation, they collectively came up with Paul Newman, specifically because of his blue eyes. This was surprising to me, because this group of eight men ranged in age from 22 to 50.

Plato considered beauty to be the idea about all other ideas. Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful and virtue, arguing that “virtue aims at the beautiful.” Beauty is a characteristic of a person that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. The “experience” often involves an interpretation. Because the experience is subjective, it is often said that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

While standards of beauty have changed dramatically through the centuries, the bottom line is this: it still comes down to what our mothers taught us, “beauty is as beauty does.” Those in our community spotlighted within these pages are beautiful—through and through, inside and out. It is our opinion that their commitment to community service blankets them in a cloak of splendor.

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