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Melissa Faithful for Art-Sheep

With her series Unadorned, German photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten takes us back to a period in history when the ideal female body was much different than the models seen in magazine spreads, billboards and fashion shows.

“Beauty” is a painful term that has oppressed women for decades into looking like what social stereotypes enforces them to. Centuries before the contemporary beauty standards, artists like Peter Paul Rubens were painting curvier women who represented the beauty standards of their era. Rubens’ sensual women were round, pale women with red cheeks and blonde hair, who looked comfortable with their full bodies and expressed an intense eroticism.

Following the lead of Renaissance and Baroque painters, Fullerton-Batten photographed bigger women in a series of fairytale-like images. Their bodies furl as they stretch or lean on tables, while their facial expressions are showing feelings of lust and erotic desire. Set in romantic spaces, they pose while interacting with natural or mysterious backgrounds, allowing their bodies to fully embrace their shape and size. Fullerton-Batten’s women are in utter harmony with nature, as if they are painted by the hand of an old master.

The photographer has managed to fully capture that essence of a more classic, North European beauty. In a world where women struggle to look thinner, it’s nice to look at images of larger women, who feel and look beautiful.

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