Beauty & Power in Art of the Past: Records of Seduction & Influence

Jean Cocteau, French artist and longstanding friend of Pablo Picasso, once said that genuinely good art outpaces beauty. So, art may seem ugly until it meets with beauty again. And I couldn’t agree more. The mechanical revolution allowed us to instantly reproduce nature with cameras — and now, phones. This development freed painting from its traditional representational role and complicated its relations with beauty. Yet, art still has the ability to foresee trends and to define them. Historically, women in positions of power are often responsible for the trends that dissipate through art.

Old Masters are a record of what was deemed beautiful at a certain time in a certain place. When we try to understand the development of trends over time, we notice the relationship between beauty and power seems constant through time and space. As such, the three examples below will explore this interconnection between beauty and power.

 

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