Photoshop horrors are nothing new or even remotely surprising at this point -- who can forget Chanel Iman's recent "mutant elbow," Kate Middleton's overly cinched waist in Grazia magazine and Ann Taylor's many flubs. It's almost a given that women's bodies will be lightened, tightened and digitally altered for the sake of "beauty" -- and sales. However, when these "standard practices" are applied to more classic images, they become more obviously disturbing.
Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano created a series of photoshopped classic nudes, entitled "Venus," first posted on Flavorwire. Giordano's purpose was to apply contemporary standards of attractiveness -- the bodies that nearly every women's magazine idealizes -- to paintings of centuries gone by. Says Giordano on her website:
The model of beauty has evolved through human history, from the greek proportions of Policleto of Argos to the busty beauty of the Renaissance, leading up to the slender body of Twiggy and the contemporary athletic stars. What would have happened if the aesthetic standard of our society had belonged to the collective unconscious of the great artists of the past?
The women in "Venus" have had their thighs shrunk, their stomachs flattened and their breasts made bigger and perkier. In some of Giordano's images the results are subtle -- we might not even question it unless we saw it side-by-side the original -- while others, such as Tiziano's "Venere de Urbino" are more strikingly altered.
Jezebel's Katie J.M. Baker points out that the original paintings were largely idealized images of women themselves -- clearly they're not unretouched photographs. However, looking at them in 2012, when we rarely if ever encounter images of women with slightly paunchy bellies or any amount of cellulite, I'll take the Renaissance Venus over her ultra-skinny counterparts any day.
LOOK: Anna Utopia Giordano's "Venus" Series