Monday, August 22, 2011

Finding the Beauty of Cleopatra

I am looking at a marble bust of an ancient woman. Her profile looks like the “before” picture at a plastic surgeon’s office prior to a nose job, lip fillers and chin implant. Nothing strikingly attractive about her, yet this is Cleopatra, oft assumed to be the most beautiful woman the world has ever known.

Her beauty is a historical, if not accurate, theme. Shakespeare wrote of her in “Antony and Cleopatra,” “For her own person/it beggar’d all description: she did lie in her pavilion-cloth of gold, of tissue-O’er/picturing that Venus where we see/The fancy outwork of nature.”

Paintings of her likeness created in the 18th century depict her as a luscious blond with a curling mane and blue eyes (rather impossible given her Macedonian genes). Elizabeth Taylor played her and Angelina Jolie is slated to in an upcoming film as well. The Queen of Egypt represents beauty du jour.

More at Being Cleopatra

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