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Are you beautiful?

In Fashion, Film, Inspiration, Painting, Photography on December 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Today I saw Leonardo da Vinci‘s paintings and drawings. They are on display in National Gallery in London during the exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci. Painter at the Court of Milan”. They are going to stay there until 5th February 2012.

This is something I am not going to forget. The great Leonardo. One of the greatest minds in history. He created some of the most excellent painting masterpieces, he also designed mechanical appliances, had a broad knowledge of human anatomy (in fifteenth century!) and played music. He also, (in the 1400s!) designed something to be considered the first surviving example of abstract art. Really! You can see it on the exhibition. He really was a genius. A Renaissance Man, they say. Well, he lived in the Renaissance. This is what the term is derived from.

“The Mona Lisa”

He believed that the outer beauty was only a sign of inner virtues. Whatever was on someone’s mind, reflected quite much in their appearance, body language and impression that people were getting. Only someone with true values and virtues was beautiful.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Leda’

What does beauty mean today? This is not unusual to think that it is an external thing and that it is a matter of good stylists, hair products and marketing. This is what we can see in the media. Celeb magazines and websites are full of it, shops are full of ‘beauty products’. One one hand, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On the other, some think of it as a universal set of rules and routines that people have to follow because the industry tells them to do so… But, do you really believe in this?

For me (and for many other people, famous and not famous) beauty is an inner thing. It is something what you carry inside you, encapsulated in your confidence and self-belief. It is also in the power of your dreams and in who you are and who you want to be. This is the inner quality that shines through and reflects in your exterior. This idea is not mine. It is as old as the modern world, as old as the times, as universal as the sun and rain. I can think of the ancient Greeks when saying that. The ancient philosophers, and also a lot of ordinary people, believed in that coherence and mutual dependence of the body and mind. The balance between them was one of the most desired things to strive for. Not to mention ancient Asian philosophers, who were absolutely convinced that there was no differentiation in fact.

This is what Leonardo’s paintings were. They were the depiction of a human mind, reflected in the body language, the essence of the people portrayed captured in time and therefore unable to age, frozen on the canvas forever (or as long as the canvas survive). Timelessly beautiful.

‘Vitruvian Man’ by Leonardo.

Today, the canon of beauty has changed. Or, has it, really? Or is the pursue of external beauty just a product of media and advertising campaigns? What does being beautiful mean? Please tell me your thoughts.

I guess, the focus of attention is shifting. People are tired of the struggle for perfection which can never be completed, since perfection is something that does not exist in reality.

Striving for physical beauty can make you look beautiful, but in an external way that can burst like a soap bubble (not to mention, bring you eating disorders). Being yourself, believing in yourself and being the best person you can ever be makes you look truly beautiful in the eyes of others.

Listen to Audrey Hepburn

“Life, if you know how to use it, is long.”

– this was said by one of Leonardo’s pupils, Giovanni Antionio Boltraffio. He wrote this on one of his paintings, you can see it on the exhibition. He believed this. I believe it too.

 

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