Rubenesque? Yes Please!
This is not a particularly theological post but I love art and this is something that’s been playing on my mind recently.
I have fat days. Oh, don’t we all? Being a young woman in the 21st Century West it’s almost impossible not to. We are told we are the wrong shape or height or dress size or bra size or pretty much anything else about our bodies from the time we’re old enough to think! Magazines, websites, films, music… it’s all image-obsessed. Someone once told me that, in order to be considered beautiful I would need to lose at least 3 stone. 3 STONE?! You’ve got to be kidding. I’m 5ft8.5 with a broadish frame . I’d look ridiculous if I lost 3 stone. I don’t even think I could do it. Incidentally, here’s a photo of me taken at New Year. I don’t include it for vanity purposes, but to illustrate why (to my mind) that person was wrong to think me obese.
I used to care – because I used to think it was important. Now I realise it does not matter one jot if you are bigger or smaller or whatever. No one whose opinion matters cares and anyone who does care doesn’t matter. If you are healthy and happy then what’s a few wobbly bits?
God doesn’t care. He does not care one bit. He cares that you are good to your body, that you love it and care for it and treat it right. But dress size? Bra size? BMI? Nah, that’s not important.
But what I really wanted to say in this post concerns a Flemish artist by the name of Pieter Paul Rubens. Working in the 17th Century, Rubens painted some of the most beautiful and sensual scenes I have ever seen. His work is exquisite, he paints women with a passion and sensual intensity that few other artists seem to manage. I am a big fan of Rubens. But there’s one thing above all that stands out for me about his work. We praise it, we coo over how beautiful his women are. Take a look at these paintings.
See what I mean? Beautiful and sensual and utterly exquisite women… with wobbly bits. Briliant. A lot of Rubens’ pictures are based on works by Titian, who also painted his women as a similar shape.
When you have a ‘fat day’, remember these few things:
1. Rubens painted some of the most beautiful women ever and they wobble.
2. God doesn’t care how big you are and His is the only opinion that matters. He’d love you whatever you looked like. BUT! He made you and you are beautiful in his sight BECAUSE you are a God-made creation, perfectly crafted and wonderful just the way you are.
3. We all get fat days – that’s normal. Blame the media, put on your big girl pants and get over it.
4. The best way to hide tubby bits is to smile. My mum told me that and it’s remarkably effective.