Michelangelo's Night

 The hidden face of steroids....

The hidden face of steroids....

 
 

Renaissance artist Michelangelo was the creator of one of the most beautiful sculptures, David, that the world has ever seen. That's why this sculpture is all the more baffling; you can't help looking at this woman and thinking 'where is her penis'?

This is because a common practice in the period was to superimpose female heads and breasts on men's bodies. This wasn't because there was no access to female models- there are plenty of contemporary artworks to show that there was. Nor was it because Michelangelo was just more into guys, although that would indeed seem to be the case. In fact, it was because Renaissance thinking was that the male form was the 'perfect' one, and therefore should be the template for artists depicting women.  But what's really interesting about this is how out of touch with the human body society must have been in those days- if your average Renaissance person couldn't walk past a statue of a woman and not even recognise that her body was pretty blokey, that says a hell of a lot about how unfamiliar they were with their own bodies and those of the people about them. Perhaps in an age where there were far fewer mirrors and when people weren't even bathing all that often, it's not so surprising, but it's almost beyond comprehension in today's body-obsessed world.

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