la beauté est une Malédiction

Welcome! This gallery,  "Beauty Is A Curse," will feature the beautiful contours of women in alluring works of art from the past. What message is the artist sending through the chosen poses based on the ambience and the disposition of the character? Take a tour of my chosen selections of art and view my thoughts and appreciation of these beautiful works of art.

In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. Though there are many stories to be told about Venus, I will share one of them that adds meaning to death by beauty. There was a prince from Dardania by the name of Anchises, and ally to Troy, that was seduced by Venus. She disguised herself as a Phrygian princess and seduced him; it was only nine months later that she revealed her divine identity. She presented Anchises with their son Aeneas. Venus warned Anchises never to brag about their affair lest he be struck by Jupiter. Unfortunately, Anchises did brag and was crippled by Jupiter's bolt. (Garcia, B. 2013) Garcia,B. (2013, August 27) Venus [Media] Ancient History Encylopedia Retrieved from Livius (2011, April 28) Phrygia [Media] Ancient History Encyclopedia Retrieved from
Titian Veceillio’s painting was an inspiration to a greater spiritual devotion at a time when Catholicism was being challenged by, the Protestant reformation. In viewing this art, you’ll notice the subject, Mary Magdalene, with her hand placed on her chest, her head and her eyes in an upward position staring up at the sky, and her mouth open as if either to sing praise, speak words or gasp for air. The positioning of her body, suggest that she may be experiencing some type of distress and that this could have been caught before she leaned over and wept. Though she is beautiful, through the eyes of historian, Vasari, viewing Magdalene in this painting, stirs emotions and moves one’s thoughts of pity of her rather than desire her, based on the positioning of her body. (The Penitent Magdalen, ND)
The story of Cleopatra dates back to 51 B.C. where she became queen upon the death of her father, Ptolemy XII. After having a disagreement with her brother, it seemed to have led to a path of war, deceit and seduction for Cleopatra in keeping her royal way of life. Using her beauty, she continued down a dangerous path of wars and alleged murders that eventually led to her own suicide after losing control of her own power. (Cäcilia Bischoff, Masterpieces of the Picture Gallery, Vienna 2010) In this painting by Guido Canlassi, you see a woman in representation of Cleopatra, slumped over in exhaustion and defeat, against the deep red fabric of her throne. She is surrounded by her servants in a display of gently lit nudes. Also, on the left side of the photo by Cleopatra's arm, you will notice the serpent of which she used to commit suicide with; coiled tenderly around arm. The Egyptian poisonous serpent is a symbol of divine royalty, and this was Cleopatra's last claim to holding on to her royal identity. ( Staff (2010), Cäcilia Bischoff, Masterpieces of the Picture Gallery, Vienna 2010)
For the next two paintings, the curse moves throughout the actions of a man lusting after the beauty of this young woman through this narration of the before and after, of a seduction taking place. There is a young man in red breeches pulling this woman toward him, who looks to be fighting him off. Her hand is pressed against his head, with her arm extended as if to push against him while reaching for her dresser table in hopes of it being something heavy enough to help her pull away from the seduction. There is also a dog in the lower right hand corner showing what looks to be a alarming reaction to what was going on. It is described that the combatant subject was, Sir John Willes, Chief Justice of Court of Common Pleas. A “certain vicious nobleman,” the Duke of Montague, supposedly commissioned this painting and it’s companion. The beauty of the art and the curse in this painting, portray, a negative and unsettling atmosphere. (Before, ND)
In this aftermath painting of the “Before” [the Seduction], you’ll notice the man has succeeded in his seduction of this woman. Based on the surroundings and the displacement of the young woman’s hat, dress and the way she holds one hand on her bosom while the other is seemingly rested in exhaustion on the man’s shoulder; she clearly went through quite a struggle. The dresser unfortunately did not support her rescue mission, as it is turned over with broken glass on the floor. The dog is also exhausted from this commotion, as he could not divert the situation enough to discontinue this ruthless act. From the paintings description, the woman implores his discretion. This painting advocates defeat and distrust from the disposition of the current atmosphere. Her beauty was taken advantage of. (After, ND)
In the beauty of Sin, Satan, on the left, confronts Death who battens his way to earth. In the middle, there is a womanly figure labeled as Sin, who reveals to Satan that she is his daughter, and that Death is their incestuous child. Sin"s arms are stretched out with her fingers spread out dramatically, in a calming like nature, as to keep Satan from attacking Death in light of the love over her. Sin’s other hand presses lightly against Death’s chest, to bring a: soothing, warmth to him to calm him down as well. The flow of her hair shows just how much power is bestowed between the two. Looking at her facial expression, and focus on Satan, it’s as if she will have to use more of her energy and convincing to bring Satan to an understanding. (Satan, SIn and Death, ND)
The artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted the model Alexa Wilding, as a beautiful young woman with richly braided long brown hair, and wrapped in a deep red robe, raises a golden cup to her lips as she holds the cup's lid to her breast with her left hand and faces the viewer with a dream-like expression. He was so infatuated with this model, that she appears in many of his art works. The cup, which gives the work its name of "The Loving Cup," is a cup from which close friends and especially lovers both drink. (The Loving Cup)
In this alluring work of art, a process called etching was done. Designs or pictures are done on metal plates, glass or anything of a hard surfaced material, by the corrosive action of an acid instead of a burn. (Eve,ND) This captivating woman called Eve, is hunched over, with her arms stretched down her leg. The way her legs are crossed, and the inside of her hands are exposed, shows a sense of being shameful or showing remorse for something she may have done wrong. She keeps her face down and covered, which is another position in body movement that shows an embarrassment or humiliation. (Eve, ND)
The artist represents the admirable young body of a weak woman, surrounded softly by some nuns as if they had just decent from her cross life. The women in this beautifully crafted painting show comfort and concern for the subject that looks exhausted and drained of her energy. Her limp body drapes into the safety net of the nuns that surround her. The way the nun kneeling down by the young woman's leg, and the placement of her hands, also gives a comforting atmosphere. (The Grace,ND)
Julio shows the subjects beauteous life of pains and the happiness. The love , the jealousy, and the death, go around of the fate which Stablishes itself in the woman´s nude which focuses the composition. The multiple images of the woman, shows all of her life moments and her experiences through time. It's like a love story, it starts with her romantic relationship in showing the affection with her companion. The whole time her companion seems to be with her, every step of the way, other than the time she was alone in the image to the left. Her stance and her body language gives off the a feeling of depression. The way her body is laid out on the floor shows her letting go of life, the image in the toward the back of the painting shows the subject laid to rest. Life can be a wonderful experience, but it's ugly side is that all things have to come to an end at some point in time. (Jondo Singing,ND)
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.