Aesthetic researchers and philosophers still don’t agree on the definition of beauty. Beauty isn’t defined, it’s recognized. It’s a quality, a concept, a feeling, that is characterized by its relativity: there isn’t a universal criteria, although approaches to total beauty exist, it is only as an ideal.
What is certain is that a particular and different approach of aesthetic perception exists for each individual social group, race and time period. The exuberant bottoms of Hottentotten women, giraffe-neck women, the small, withered feet of the Chinese women, nose, ear and lip mutilation in some African and American tribes, the square shaped heads seen in some sculptures from Ethiopia, all of which were deliberately provoked since childhood… are all considered beauty models for certain races or they were considered as such at a certain time period.
The classical beauty canon followed by other civilizations, which we still follow, was Policleto’s, the most famous patron of Greek beauty. He declared that human height should be the same as 8 times the length of the head. Both Belvedere’s Apollo and Milo’s Venus are examples of artistic ideal and of beauty concept. Willendorf’s Venus, Rubens, Manet… show robust and adipose feminine beauty in opposition to the one shown in the works of Boticceli, Modigliani…
In today’s world both feminine and masculine features have a different meaning. The search for beauty is done in gyms. Obesity is considered a pathology. All beauty canons are accepted as long as they can be adapted to a determined context, and it may well be that more worth is laid on dynamic beauty than on static beauty. Movement, in both television and movie image, has taken the place of pose in photography, painting and sculpturing as mass communication means. Dynamic beauty goes beyond and accepts both the asymmetry and the irregularity if it is harmonious as a whole. External and internal perfection constitute both physical and psychic beauty. The harmony of both is one of the biggest spectacles we can enjoy and to which every human being gives into.