Venus as Cover Model: An Italian Artist Gives the Photoshop Treatment to Classic Images of the Goddess

Anna Utopia Giordano's slimmed-down version of Botticelli's "La nascita di Venere" (1485)
(Courtesy the Artist)

What if the Old Masters had our standards of beauty? For her "Venus" project, Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano took classic paintings of Venus from art history and digitally altered them to reflect the kind of look prefered by the media today, making waists tinier, thighs skinnier, and breasts bigger. The results are both a form of social commentary and a kind of unintended Surrealism.

Contacted by email, Giordano told ARTINFO France that she wants to "highlight the aesthetic changes in the canon throughout the centuries, and this leads, quite spontaneously, to even talking about major issues such as anorexia and bulimia and the wide use of photo-editing software in advertising." Based in Naples and Milan, Giodano also happens to be a freelance fashion model herself, and it was this experience that led her to conceive of the "Venus" project. When asked if she's concerned about working in an industry that promotes unrealistic standards of beauty, Giordano replied that in her own personal relationship to the profession, she attempted to at least take charge of her own image: "since I work without an agency, I can choose to work for projects that are close to my sensibility and I often personally take care of the concept (styling/makeup/location)."

As for the artists own review on the project, Giordano's personal favorite of her altered artworks is the one based on Velázquez's "Rokeby Venus." "She has a mirror in front of her and I like to believe that while she looks at her 'new' body, she asks herself, 'What has happened to me?'"

To see images from Anna Utopia Giordano's "Venus" series, click on the slide show.