For the whole of my life, until recently, I was sold (and believed) the story that equated only the thin female body with beauty. It would be tedious to point out how prevalent this story is - for just about everyone is familiar with it. Less told is the story where women give up their sense of guilt when they enjoy a good meal; where they embrace (healthy*) food, embrace their femininity, their sexuality and their men (or their women), who embrace them. Over the years I have seen so many images of Goddesses but the one thing I have never seen is a really skinny Venus - until I saw this post on annautopiagiordano.it, wherein famous paintings of Venus are photoshopped to make Venus conform to contemporary standards of synthesised beauty. The result is mostly hideous. There is something very wrong about a famished depiction of Venus. I cannot imagine that Venus could look as if she starves herself - for she is a Goddess of life and fertility.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of images of Venus which have survived from ancient times; you might be thinking I am about to claim that they are all voluptuous - but that is not true. Many of them are curvaceous, in fact some ancient Roman Venus' are even a little plump, but there are many that are slim, but they are never runway model thin. Neither have I seen any obese Venus'. What does this mean? It means that the Romans thought of Venus as looking like a woman with a healthy body, and they recognised that beauty comes in many forms. In that spirit, I want to celebrate the many portrayals of Venus over the centuries, not least the voluptuous ones, so here I go.
Roman Era Venus'
Roman Era Venus'
|Fresco of Venus from Pompeii (1st century CE)|
|Celestial Venus (circa 2nd-3rd century CE), Bronze, 25cm|
|Mosaic depicting Venus from Tunisia (circa 3rd century CE)|