BEAUTY

Frances Mary Steele and Elizabeth Livingston Steele Adams. Beauty of Form and Grace of Vesture. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1894.

Beauty of the human form is to-day exactly what it was in ancient Greece; it is the same through the centuries. The consensus of ages is a true verdict, and classic forms become safe models.

Weare fortunate in having examples of the highest types embodied in enduring marble, that there may be no question regarding their essential features. They were the thought of Greece on the subject of feminine beauty, in the period of the highest physical cultivation of the race known to history. They must stand for the ideal woman to the end of time. We can only sit down before them in deep admiration. To their perfection out times can add nothing. They are to be studied, loved, imitated.

The statue of the Venus di Milo is a transcendent embodiment of mature feminine beauty. She is peerless. Her grand form is that of a fully developed woman standing before us in serene majesty. Before her, criticism is dumb. Her magnificent womanhood affects us like a strain of exquisite music. She is both great and tender. The Diana of Praxiteles, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, are other noble forms of Greek thought. The world's best art has wrought this sculpture to typify perfect womanly proportion...

Appreciating these, one has to make her own body as nearly possible like classical models, by exercise, by diet, by every healthful process, or, as a last resort, to simulate corresponding proportions by every harmless device of art in clothing.

With but few exceptions, all natural forms of acknowledged beauty are composed of curves. The greater the unity in the curves of the human body, the greater is the beauty of the whole.

While symmetrical proportions are the most impressive of all the attributes of a beautiful woman, there are others which go to make up ideal completness...A small head is so far unusual as to be remarkable, and is justly considered a great beauty...In the human frame the gradual tapering of the limbs and fingers, the exquisite lines from a woman's neck to her shoulders and bosom, are fine examples.

Beautiful limbs are plump, round, and soft, fresh in colour and supple in action, the thigh not unduly large.

A beautiful hand is not necessarily small, but is in proportion to the body. It should be as long as the face, and have slender, tapering fingers. The nails should be rosy and smooth.

The beauty of the feet consists in their neatness and shapeliness, not in smallness nor shortness. The length of the foot, to be in proper proportion to the rest of the body, is the length of the forearm measured from the point of the wrist to the point of the elbow.

Perhaps there is no more fascinating quality than the colouring of human beings. There is no texture under heaven so transcendently exquisite as healthy human flesh, with its delicate, transparent covering, revealing the ruddy glow beneath, like suffused rose-tints in apple-blossoms.

The mouth is the most significant instrument of expression. It is continually moulded by thought and sentiment and purpose. Therefore it is within the power of the will sensibly to soften and refine it.

A beautiful ear is about twice as long as it is broad; it is only slightly inclined backward, and the lobe is not attached to the head.

Fine and abundant hair is a splendid possession, whether it be black as the raven's wing, "brown in the shadow, and gold in the sun, " or of the gorgeous colour that Titian loved, the red that has been so often despised by its wearers, but which brings with it generally a delicious colouring of complexion, and often strong mental ability.

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Last Updated: 6/9/16