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The ideal Medieval woman was seen as being hairless in contrast to the man. Hairlines, eyebrows and even eyelashes were plucked so that no hair whatsoever would show. The only women who appear frequently in High Medieval portraits displaying their hair are saints and the Virgin Mother. A high forehead was a sign of extreme beauty. In this painting, you can see the exaggerated eye line which may be created with some kind of paint or make-up.
Painting by Rogier van der Weyden
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Throughout history, a small waist has been admired and viewed as the ideal. This reached its zenith in the late 19th and early 20th centuries after the introduction of steel, rather than whale, boning. During this time, it was common to pad the bust and the hips to emphasise the tiny size of the waist - not surprisingly, this was the era of the bustle and, later, the pigeon-fronted bodice.
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Here is another painting in which you can see clearly the blue veins on the breast and the deep pink areola. Click to view the picture full size. Note also the deep pink rouge on the cheeks and the darkened, shaped eyebrows.
Painting of Nell Gwynn by Simon Verelst
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During the Restoration, the breasts became a prominent part of court fashion and it was not uncommon for the bosoms of courtiers to be entirely on show. To highlight the translucency of the skin, women would powder their bosoms and paint on fine blue veins. The nipples and areolae would also be rouged.
Painting of Mary Davis by Sir Peter Lely
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The mid-late 17th century’s ideal of beauty featured heavily-lidded sensual eyes, a rounded face with little definition, a full bosom, highly curled hair around the face, white skin with a pinkish tint, thick eyebrows, a full almost doubled chin and soft rounded shoulders.
Lady Mary Fane by Sir Peter Lely, c.1660-5