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News & Insight

Women in Classic Paintings Get Photoshopped to Fit Today’s Standards

By Hanssie on May 23rd 2014

Photo editor Lauren Wade has seen and preformed many a Photoshop retouch having worked in the industry for 5 years. A little nip there, a little tuck here, it is the standard of beauty these days to see gaunt models airbrushed to perfection. No thigh gaps, double chins or a blemish to be found…perfection. Just like a mannequin.

Yet, this was not always the case. Throughout history, and even in recent history, a size zero woman was not upheld as the norm. Going back throughout art history, famous painters from Degas, to Raphael to Botticelli depicted curvy women, with bellies and “imperfections” that the modern magazines would “fix” with some quick clicks in Photoshop.


To show the contemporary skewed standard in today’s beauty industry, Lauren has wielded her liquify tool to some classic works of art for a feature in TakePart Magazine. The pieces of art do show nudes so I suppose the following images may be considered NSFW(ish)…



Titian, Danaë With Eros, 1544


Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1486


Edgar Degas, La Toilette, 1884–86


Raphael, Three Graces, 1504–1505

To see more works of art being modified to perfection, check out Lauren’s article over at TakePart.


[Via Sploid]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar


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  2. Jen

    So, I’m curious – what is the point of doing this anyway? Why in the world would we photoshop a painting? Why would we, after photoshopping said picture, debate which one is better? The original is the original. I’m with Rick. This makes me sad.

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    • Thirteen

      So it makes you sad to photoshop a painting but not sad to photoshop a real woman. Are women not original enough for you?

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  3. Eduardo

    Hm, I would prefer a woman somewhere in the middle. The first picture looks better Photoshopped; but I feel the others went a little too far.

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  4. Lynda M Otvos

    And truthfully, are the skinny women more attractive to any of you ?~! They look malnourished and underfed and UnHappy too. But hey, that’s just me.

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    • Reynardt

      Nope, they look like they eat healthier and are more active. So, they live longer. That’s quite sexy to me. Grrr.

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    • Maryanne

      Do you think it’s appropriate to call people unattractive due their body shape? It’s called thin shaming, it’s the same thing as fat shaming, the same thing as anything shaming. It’s what little schoolyard bullies do all over the nation because adults teach them it’s ok to devalue and attack other human beings rather than deal with their own insecurities. Personally, I find it childish and destructive.

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  5. Rick

    This is just sad.

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  6. Black Z Eddie

    Good thing they didn’t have Photoshop back then.

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