Figure and form have been explored throughout humanity, whether it be through symbolic meaning or by exploring ‘beauty’. It is interesting to see how the figures alter through the years and regions.
These figures are very shapely; curvaceous; volumptuous and rounded. They are steeped in meaning and symbolism which, for me, makes them for more beautiful!
Neolithic Art and Egyptian Art
Left – The shape is very basic and almost looks printed, even though it has been painted to be very shapely and have big thighs.
Right – This figure is pear-shaped, with angular curves. It is not as rounded as the previous examples and is far more stylised.
First of all, I FOUND A MAN’S BUM! (they are weirdly hard to find)
They are both very smooth, almost appearing real as if they are actual people. These examples feel more realistic because they have been worked into so much in order to get the ‘perfection’ that was desired.
Roman and Spanish Art
Left – I quite like the rough textures in this one, which has no relevance to the bum, but i feel it adds to the realism of the piece. The figure is quite square-hipped and nips in at the waist.
Right – This way of lying down is very flattering as it accentuates the curve of the hip which you can see from how the spine bends round. This gives her a very curvy shape.
Both of these images are painted from ordinary life settings. They look natural and not set up or ‘posed’. This is great because you get to see the bums as they are normally, not forced to look more curved and full.
Fritz Wotruba (b.1907): Standing Figure. Breccia. 1953-5. Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris. P299.
This form is an abstract of the human figure; a much simplified version that rethinks the ‘figure’ and transforms it into something unconventionally beautiful.
I have always been a fan of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth (i think you have to be if you come from Yorkshire), the way they both turn figures into unconventional abstract forms is unique. Sometimes they still look like the human body, being obvious what has inspired the work, whereas other times they are so strange and disjointed from their inspiration that you aren’t quite sure where it has come from. Until, you see the prefiguring chain of sketches and drawings, which showcases the whole journey undertaken, up to the final outcome.
All images from this post were sourced from –
(1979). A Picture History of Art. Oxford: Phaidon Press Limited.