Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beauty Revealed or Sexting 19th Century Style

You think sexting is totally 21st century? Here's an example from 1828. It's a miniature painting by Sarah Goodridge, of her boobs, which she sent to the newly widowed statesman, Daniel Webster. The painting is tiny, measuring 6.7cm x 8cm, pretty much approximating the screen on a mobile phone. This, however, was painted on ivory and later set in a case. I think it's quite enchanting. It's very cute; to the uninitiated viewer the boobs would be anonymous, while the recipient of the portrait was aware of the owner's identity - it's really a kind of flashing. Beauty Revealed was painted when Sarah was about 40, and some critics have speculated that she enhanced her the appearance of her breasts so that they looked younger. (Is there nothing new under the sun? Imagine that, a woman enhancing her natural beauty!) Sarah must have been a rather forward woman for 1828 - and I applaud a woman of any era who takes seduction into her own hands. Men still want to see boob shots, according to Cosmopolitan magazine, but as a painting Beauty Revealed seems rather more precious and less disposable than the proliferation of photographic nudes all over the internet today.