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Pasternak Legs

In the expansive tapestry of human history, the representation of women's legs stands out as a captivating reflection of societal norms, cultural values, and artistic expressions. From ancient civilizations to the modern era, the portrayal of women's legs has undergone significant transformations, mirroring the evolving perceptions of femininity, beauty, and power.


In ancient times, civilizations like Egypt and Greece honored the female form through sculptures and artworks that portrayed ideal proportions and grace. In Egyptian art, slim, elongated legs symbolized fertility and elegance, represented by goddess figures such as Isis and Hathor. Similarly, ancient Greek sculptures depicted beauty through symmetry and balance, highlighting women's legs as a key aspect of the divine aesthetic.


During the Middle Ages, Europe experienced a time of intense religious devotion, leading to modest and pious artistic representations. Women often concealed their legs under flowing garments to adhere to Christian moral ideals. However, the Renaissance brought about a renewed focus on the human form, leading to more lifelike portrayals and a newfound appreciation for the female figure, including the graceful curvature of women's legs.


During the Victorian era, strict social norms and prudish attitudes prevailed, leading to the veiling of women's legs under layers of fabric as a symbol of modesty and virtue. However, beneath this facade of propriety, societal tensions brewed, and the representation of women's legs became a battleground for cultural values and gender roles.


The 20th century brought significant changes in societal attitudes towards gender, sexuality, and body image. From the liberation movements of the 1920s to the feminist waves of the latter half of the century, women's legs became symbols of empowerment and defiance against traditional norms. The flapper girls of the Jazz Age boldly displayed their legs in rebellion against Victorian modesty, while activists in the 1960s and 70s reclaimed their bodies, challenging societal expectations and celebrating their autonomy.


In today's world, the representation of women's legs is continually changing, reflecting a wide range of cultural influences and individual expressions. From high fashion to popular media, women's legs continue to be a powerful symbol of beauty, sensuality, and empowerment, crossing boundaries and challenging conventions.


The representation of women's legs throughout history reflects the changing societal values and cultural ideals. From ancient goddesses to modern icons, women's legs have served as a canvas for the interplay of art, culture, and identity, prompting us to consider the many meanings embodied in their graceful lines.

Boris Pasternak

Winters night

And far and near the blizzard raced,

Through every endland.

A burning candle lit the place,

A burning candle.

As to a swarm of summer moths

Are flame and glow,

The window frame attractive was

To flakes of snow.

There on the pane a frosted fresque

Grew: circles, angles.

A burning candle lit the desk,

A burning candle.

On the enlightened ceiling easel

Fell shapes retracing

Entangled arms, entangled knees,

Fates interlacing.

And thuddingly two little shoes

Were dropping down,

And wax in tears, heat-melted loose,

Dripped on the gown.

And melted all in silver gloom,

Obscure and swirling.

A burning candle lit the room,

A candle burning.

Caught in a draft, the flame would swing,

And stormy passions

Spread wings, like tempted angels, in

Cruciform fashion.

That winter, blizzards held the pace;

Their calls returning,

A burning candle lit the place,

A candle burning.

Translated by Alexander Givental

Working name: Pasternak Legs

Year: 2024

Material: oil on canvas board

Size: 60*80cm

Inspo: photography, unknown

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