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What makes a face attractive? An objective look at beauty

Many have tried to define in exact words what makes a person attractive.  But what if you could measure attractiveness through a mathematical formula?

Face Lift Face Proportions

Face Lift Face Proportions

The map above overlaid on a human face is based on the Divine Proportion and measures symmetry and harmony of the face.

But should the Divine Proportion be applied in the field of cosmetic surgery?  Can we set a universal definition of beauty?

When you look at cultures throughout history, there is a preference for symmetry over asymmetry.  But did you know that clear skin is viewed as a universal beauty trait?  There are certain preferences that have to do with gender as well.  Males tend to have a preference for females with a small jaw, small nose, large eyes, and defined cheekbones.  These features are sometimes referred to as being “baby faced” and thus youthful.  Females generally prefer males with a more mature face, strong features, full lips, and clear skin.  On an interesting side note, females preferences for beauty change during menstruation.

The issue of race is one that has been in the news, especially with the increase in demand for buttocks lifts.  Different cultures define beauty in different ways.  A few weeks ago the New York Times ran a fascinating article about this which I recommend taking a look at.  (Ethnic Differences Emerge in Plastic Surgery http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/nyregion/19plastic.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=plastic+surgery&st=cse )

I find it fascinating from an anthropological perspective  to look at how humans objectively define beauty.  However, I philosophically believe beauty to be subjective.  Though there be mathematical formula’s, cultural preferences, and trends, it all comes down to you, and how you define beauty for yourself.

Below is a gallery of pictures to illustrate the concept of the Divine Proportion.  Enjoy!

The Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio 1:1.618

Piet Mondrian: mathematical art

Piet Mondrian: Composition with Gray and Light Brown 1918

Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian, Composition in Red, Yellow, and Blue, 1926

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci "The Vetruvian Man"

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci "An Old Man"

The Greek Parthenon

The Greek Parthenon


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