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Five centuries of faces

Click the image to see this great YouTube, 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art.


The guy has taken a series of portrait paintings in chronological order and morphed between them. Ho-hum, right? Yes, but he’s done a fantastic job choosing the right examples so that the sequence looks less like morphs between disparate images, and more like one continuous animation of a single woman’s face.

I started watching with the expectation that I would see the standard of feminine beauty shift continually and noticeably over time, but it doesn’t. Well, it does really, but not in this film. The particular faces he’s chosen are more alike than different and all would be recognizably beautiful to everyone in the time span. (Until, of course, we get to the puddle of sick that is ‘modern’ art).

Anyhow, I wrote to the guy who posted it to make sure he was the actual creator. He is (sign your stuff, man! Cast your bread upon the waters and the ducks will eat it). Check out eggman913. He does nice work.


Comment from TattooedIntellectual
Time: June 4, 2007, 4:09 am

Umm, Mr. Weasel it’s been a really long time since I took art history in college. Would you mind doing a post on the change in the feminine beauty standard over the years? Please feel free to ignore that esoteric, abstract, modern scribble. Thanks!

BTW, congratulations on two posts w/ more than 20 comments. It appears you’ve been feeding the minions extra-strength pellets 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 4, 2007, 5:28 am

Oh! Geez. I’m sure there must be a learned and erudite treatise on that somewhere, TI, but it hasn’t got my name on it.

I was just thinking of Fragonard and his giant cellulitey, cottage-cheesey lady asses. Or the Nineteenth Century and its bulgey foreheads and pointy chins. Or the flappers and their flat chests and big chins.

In my lifetime, it’s morphed from skinny and flat-chested to skinny and big-busted. Contrast that with the lady in the painting over the bar in the cowboy movies, who was generally a very chubby girl. Or…have you ever seen the first MGM musical? Bunch of chunky cows in tights.

The weird thing about the shift in faces is that, in the era of photography, there is some suggestion that faces — rather than merely tastes — do change over time.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 4, 2007, 5:49 am

Yup, faces do change. Or, at least, the ones that get painted or photographed do. But I think it’s the actual faces. It shows well in period movies. Rarely, do actresses look like they stepped out of a photograph or painting from the era in question.

There’s a thesis to be written on this.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 4, 2007, 5:53 am

Oh, and yes. That’s an astonishing animation.

If it did no other thing, it would show a visiting alien at what point in human history the species went mad.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 4, 2007, 7:43 am

The animation was astonishing. As you-all said, it appeared to be one continuous face with gently changing pose, position, and expression. Very well done. I played it several times just to see (in my ignorance) just what comprised “sad” versus “stern” versus “happy” versus “come-hither”, versus “you asshat, get that dog out of here”.

I might have made that last one up.

And I clicked on the artist site: so you – Weasel-Hero – helped spread his bread on the water.

I played the “Four-Corners” video over there (’cause I been there) and noticed for the first time that the opening sequence to “Starry, Starry Night” is almost exactly the same as “Aunt Jemima Pancakes” – which are being digested as I speak.

So everything’s connected…

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 4, 2007, 12:04 pm

…and Steve, over at Hog on Ice, is discussing maple syrup and pancakes. And women. And tits. So everything really is connected…

Comment from whitishrabbit
Time: June 5, 2007, 8:40 am

Steve is mean as hell.

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