Isabella Segalovich su HyperAllergic ripercorre la storia di una parte del corpo femminile tanto importante quanto poco notata nella storia dell’arte, e cioè le sopracciglia.
Being a public persona on the internet means that my face is looked at almost constantly by strangers, leading to uninvited comments about one feature in particular: my eyebrows. On TikTok, the more viral my video, the more “feedback” my bushier-than-average, Ashkenazic brows receive. Reactions range from applause to truly unhinged amounts of anger and disgust.
I started wondering: Have people always been this weird about eyebrows? As the most easily mutable facial feature, women’s eyebrows have often been sites of intense scrutiny and have gone through seemingly endless, rapidly changing trend cycles around the world. So let’s take a quick tour of how these ideals have shown up in art across civilizations throughout history: from bushy, to bold, to completely bare.
Dalle folte sopracciglia dell’antichità mediterranea, spesso rinforzate col kohl (una polvere di antimonio e grasso, l’antenato dell’eyeliner) alle decorazioni colorate in voga nell’antica Cina (pigmenti blu, color pesca, e polvere d’oro, d’argento e di smeraldo), fino alla quasi totale sparizione in epoca Vittoriana:
Books and beauty manuals outlined the perfect brow with almost maniacal detail, many of which have been assembled by writer Mimi Matthews. Sylvia’s Book Of The Toilet: A Ladies’ Guide To Dress And Beauty from 1881 states that the ideal “arched eyebrows convey only an idea of childlike innocence and wonder.” But above all, the eyebrows should never, ever meet. A certain Dr. Thomas Sozinskey (yes, “Dr.”,) helpfully states in the book that the larger space between the eyebrows, “the larger the mind,” but also that too “much space and bagginess between the eyebrows and the eyes are ugly, and are generally met with in shallow persons of dissolute tastes.”
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