Beauty. Undoubtedly the purest expression of love, beauty is not quite as simple as a pretty face, nor quite as complex as perfect measurements.
Photography by Marlena Bielinska
The ancient Greeks searched not for Immortality or the Holy Grail. Nor did they travel the world looking for hidden treasures. Their quest was for something even less tangible, even more holy, but equally as inaccessible. Beauty. Undoubtedly the purest expression of love, beauty is not quite as simple as a pretty face, nor quite as complex as perfect measurements. No, it is something other than a corporeal imprint, which may turn a head or two, but cannot seize you at the core; cannot bring you to your knees. Only true, unabashed beauty can do that, which is why it is such a rare phenomenon, blessing only the few that have the eyes to see it. It is within art that the concept of beauty is discovered and interpreted most eloquently.
The ancient Greeks portrayed the ideal rather than the real.
Plato, based on Socrates’ teachings, determined that for every ‘being’ – every rock, every flower and every human – there is the ‘perfect’ archetype somewhere in another realm – an ideal without the fatal flaws inherent in the earthly subject. According to his philosophy you are but a mirror image – a mere reflection of your true perfection. And life is but a striving to get back to your pure nature; your pure beauty, which never falters and never fails you.
It was towards the end of the medieval period that there was a re-birth of these Ancient Greek ideals. This Renaissance led to a rediscovery and revival of the beautiful, voluptuous and feminine. It dusted off Ovid’s sensual poetry and depiction of nymphs, gods and goddesses, and explored this world with the eye of a child. Art, which had always been ‘still’ and somewhat frigid, suddenly exuded blatant sensuality. It captured the mystery of humankind and openly worshipped feminine power which for centuries had been suppressed and denied. But there is something even more poignant about Renaissance art. It was relative to human kind. The beauty was no longer inaccessible, but instead a reflection of the inner beauty that every man and every woman taps into in moments of greatness. It came to its peak in the 1800s during the post-Renaissance if you will. From Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Lady Lilith, the mysterious woman contemplating her beauty with comb and mirror, to John William Waterhouse’s Wakening of Adonis that illustrates the urgent desire displayed between lovers. For the first time art became a mirror of the inner life, an idealized mirror perhaps, but a mirror of the most profound, breathtaking and truthful part of ourselves. It was and still is a powerful reflection of unveiled, unclouded, unabashed human beauty. It is because of this era that we, the offspring of the Renaissance, can nurture and display our own beauty. So honor the gift and vow to not only find the beautiful in nature, but to also seek it and see it, within yourself.
Pay homage to the Renaissance today
Pay back those young radical artists and poets that started the Renaissance – they are the forefathers of this era of sensuality. Make a vow to embellish your face and body with Greek-like decadence. Here’s how: Mind Meditate. You can join a yoga center or do it yourself alone. If you are new to this, then start by going on a 20-minute contemplative walk every day (without your iPod). Why? Because to see beauty, you must have moments of silence. Face and Body. For the most beautiful treatments available in Miami go to Elemis Spa at the Village of Merrick Park or Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Elemis, a British-born company, uses the finest ingredients from nature to lavish the face and body with the attention they deserve. For starters try the Elemis Aroma Stone Therapy or the Exotic Coconut Rub and Milk Ritual, then resurface your skin with the clinically-trialed Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial to gently remove the dry surface layer of skin without compromising on indulgence. While at the Village of Merrick Park in Nordstrom, stop at the Elemis counter and perhaps indulge in some retail therapy. Elemis offers the shopping weary 30 minute and 55 minute advanced power booster facials. Hair. While at the Elemis Spa, visit the hair salon and treat yourself to a set of Great Lengths Extensions. For $2000 or less, you can transform your hair into long tresses, reminiscent of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s version of Lady Lilith. No time for in spa pampering? Then go to www.timetospa.com and indulge DIY style. For more information go to www.elemis.com.