May 10, 2011

Skin: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Photoshop

There is this famous ad by Dove where a not-that-pretty girl turns stunning thanks to make up and, mostly, to Photoshop.

When you see ads of make up or creams or this sort of things for female customers, you wonder what are they really advertising: A powerful cream or a new software for manipulating pictures? Don't you prefer a girl with skin and pores rather than a plastic Barbie?

I was thinking about that two months ago when I visited a magnificent exhibition on Jean-Léon Gérôme in Thyssen-Bornemisza. For the sake of perfect and idealized beauty, Gérôme used to paint girls without pores, as if their skin was made of ceramic. The paintings are stunningly beautiful, but this use of skin is mean.

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Femme nue (1889)

Today, it is Gérôme's 187th birthday. Go to the exhibition if you are in Madrid.

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