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Loki
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 12:15 PM
Have a look at this painting from 16th century Italian artist, Botticelli. All the females in the painting are Nordic or Nordish. This is by no means any exception...

This masterpiece is in the Louvre, Paris. I had the privilege to observe it with my own eyes 2 days ago, along with other paintings like the Mona Lisa. :)

For those who think Paris is all swarthy... think again. To my eyes it seems Paris has fewer immigrants than London (although still unacceptably many). And in the local population, the Nordic race is also well represented, besides Alpine, Mediterranean and other elements. This should hardly come as a surpise, since Paris is far north, and has absorbed many Germanic elements throughout the centuries.

Med
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 12:46 PM
Have a look at this painting from 16th century Italian artist, Botticelli. All the females in the painting are Nordic or Nordish.

The majority of those women appear brachycephalic and hence Alpine, which is one of the 3 main racial elements of Northern Italy (along with Dinaric and Atlanto-Mediterranean). Their hair ranges from reddish-brown to golden, which is also consistent with Alpine ancestry, according to Coon. They may be considered "Nordish", but then so is Catherine Zeta Jones, so that means very little.

Loki
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 12:52 PM
The majority of those women appear brachycephalic and hence Alpine, which is one of the 3 main racial elements of Northern Italy (along with Dinaric and Atlanto-Mediterranean). Their hair ranges from reddish-brown to golden, which is also consistent with Alpine ancestry, according to Coon. They may be considered "Nordish", but then so is Catherine Zeta Jones, so that means very little.

It is impossible for anyone to see if those women are dolichocephalic, mesocephalic or brachycephalic, since their long hair masks the back of the head, and any length/breadth comparison.

Their pigmentation alone (hair + eyes + skin) suggest more Nordic than Alpine characteristics. Look again please.

These pictures have nothing to do with Catherine Zeta Jones.

Prodigal Son
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 08:10 PM
I've posted many Botcielli painting's before. Despite Medhammers' claims of them being 'Mediterranean', I doubt anyone here could mistake the individuals portrayed in the paintings for Sicilians or Greeks. The dominant impression is one of North-Central European phenotype.

rusalka
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 08:34 PM
Although I'm not opposing any of the above views here, I have to point out something nevertheless.

Sandro Botticelli is one of the Florentine masters of the Renaissance. Also apparent from his subject matters and how he handles them, he was also very much involved with the Neo-Platonist philosophy of his time. The Renaissance artists did use models but hardly strived for a true likeness. They almost always painted what was their "ideal", reminiscent of Plato's concept of "Idea" where we get the word "Ideal". If you look at Botticelli's women, they more or less look like the same person. The same goes for Leonardo's women; and in some cases men. Mona Lisa DOES look like St John the Baptist, for that was Leonardo's vision of the ideal human face. Another thing to consider is the "head-shape". In the Medieval and Renaissance times, women were known to shave their hairline to have unnaturalistically high foreheads; so, if you were to judge a high forehead by that, that would be a mistake. Same goes for eyebrows, all fashionable ladies shaved off them as well.

I agree with the Nordish influence in the French people, especially those who are from the Northern parts. There is a considerable Celtic ancestry in the North-West of France as far as I know of as well. But to base this on paintings can be very misleading. It's important to keep in mind that almost all these artists were painting their versions of women and men; not of the people around them, and especially in the Late Medieval and Renaissance period, fair hair was equaled with purity and was used extensively in portraits of Mary, and other saints.

Prodigal Son
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 08:45 PM
. They almost always painted what was their "ideal", reminiscent of Plato's concept of "Idea" where we get the word "Ideal".

Precisely. And contrary to the sophomoric opinions of a few posters here, the Renaissance ideal of female beuaty had pale skin, golden-blond hair and light eyes, not swarthy skin, black hair, and brown eyes.

rusalka
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 09:06 PM
Precisely. And contrary to the sophomoric opinions of a few posters here, the Renaissance ideal of female beuaty had pale skin, golden-blond hair and light eyes, not swarthy skin, black hair, and brown eyes.
True. It does not matter where the artists were from, even if there were a lot of "Mediterrenean" types around, they almost always painted within the "ideal" range of the Renaissance period. It only began to change during the Baroque period, with naturalism gaining more and more favor. It's like having skinny models in today's world, if some civilization, 500 years from now were to find these images and nothing else, I suppose they would think the same and label the late 20th-early 21st century people as having this typology in general.

Art, in general, is a good way in terms of social analysis of an era; but it should never be taken literally, especially if we have information that backs up these idealistic leanings, such as for the Medieval-Renaissance periods.

cosmocreator
Tuesday, October 28th, 2003, 10:01 PM
The figures in those paintings look Nordid.

Med
Wednesday, October 29th, 2003, 01:28 PM
It is impossible for anyone to see if those women are dolichocephalic, mesocephalic or brachycephalic, since their long hair masks the back of the head, and any length/breadth comparison.

The two women who are more or less facing forward have short, broad faces and small round noses. These are not characteristics associated with Nordics. They are, however, consistent with Alpine physiognomy.


Their pigmentation alone (hair + eyes + skin) suggest more Nordic than Alpine characteristics. Look again please.

Pigmentation is adaptable and therefore not a primary racial signifier. Why are you searching for Nordics in a country that anthropology tells us has but a tiny Nordic influence at best? Northern Italy is and has always been significantly Alpine. And anthropology also tells us that Alpines -- and even Dinarics and Mediterraneans to a certain extent -- can exhibit varying degrees of blondism, rufosity and freckling. In fact, Coon explicitly traces such features in Italy to those first two subraces. So when you see a northern Italian blonde, your first impression should not be "Nordic" but rather "Alpine", especially when her morphology isn't particularly Nordic.

Loki
Wednesday, October 29th, 2003, 01:45 PM
Are the two females in the middle of this picture (from Italian artist Guido Reni) also "Alpine"? If so, then Norway and Sweden are full of Alpines. ;)

Louky
Thursday, October 30th, 2003, 12:11 AM
I did a little review on Renaissance art and I think Botticelli is more enamoured of the "fair" paradigm than any other artist in that period, INCLUDING artists from the north Renaissance expression. Also, if he associated fairness with femininity and youth, he would not be much different than the majority today. Many a woman has found she can turn back the clock by lightening her hair a shade or two, since hair darkens with age. Skin usually loses the "blush of youth," which is why we have that hackneyed phrase. I seriously doubt that Botticelli was trying to do anything more than give a presentation of youth, virginity, and freshness by using a more "perishable" type-- "Nothing Gold Can Stay."

Nature's first green is gold.
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her earthly leaf's a flower
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief.
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

--Carl Sandburg

amethyst
Thursday, October 30th, 2003, 01:15 AM
I admire the beauty of the face and hair of Botticelli's Venus.

Med
Thursday, October 30th, 2003, 01:54 PM
Are the two females in the middle of this picture (from Italian artist Guido Reni) also "Alpine"? If so, then Norway and Sweden are full of Alpines. ;)

No, Norway and Sweden are full of blonds, and many non-Nordics are also blond, hence the superficial resemblance. But it makes as little sense to label every blond in Italy 'Nordic' as it would to label every brunet in Scandinavia 'Mediterranean'. There's just no evidence to support such fantasies, so why keep insisting?

Coon on Alpines:


Alpines are as a rule of but medium stature, and lateral in bodily build; their heads of moderate size and globular; their faces characteristically round and their facial features slightly infantile. Their pigmentation ranges from blond to brunet, but is usually intermediate.

. . .

This blond Basque was rufous and freckled in childhood; his curly hair and facial features give him an Irish appearance. Nevertheless his general racial classification is with the Alpine group.

http://www.fikas.no/~sprocket/snpa/bilder/troe121a.jpghttp://www.fikas.no/~sprocket/snpa/bilder/troe121b.jpghttp://www.fikas.no/~sprocket/snpa/bilder/troe121c.jpg

Loki
Thursday, October 30th, 2003, 02:01 PM
No, Norway and Sweden are full of blonds, and many non-Nordics are also blond, hence the superficial resemblance. But it makes as little sense to label every blond in Italy 'Nordic' as it would to label every brunet in Scandinavia 'Mediterranean'. There's just no evidence to support such fantasies, so why keep insisting?



I hear what you say, but.... are you denying (I'm sounding here like someone else ;) ) that (northern) Italy has had substantial Nordic genetic impact from the Germanic Lombards, Ostrogoths and Normans (Sicily)? I am not saying that there is anywhere specific in Italy where the Nordic race predominates at present. But you can still find individuals, especially in far northern Italy, who vaguely resemble the phenotypes of their Nordic Germanic ancestors.

rusalka
Friday, October 31st, 2003, 12:05 AM
I hear what you say, but.... are you denying (I'm sounding here like someone else ;) ) that (northern) Italy has had substantial Nordic genetic impact from the Germanic Lombards, Ostrogoths and Normans (Sicily)? I am not saying that there is anywhere specific in Italy where the Nordic race predominates at present. But you can still find individuals, especially in far northern Italy, who vaguely resemble the phenotypes of their Nordic Germanic ancestors.
I think this makes sense, considering Italy has borders with Austria and Switzerland. If we also consider that the Hallstatt culture sprang from Austria, and La Tene from Switzerland; both being the cradle of the Celtic people; it wouldn't be too irrelevant to assume there could be at least some Celtic ancestry in northern parts of Italy. The Celts were, of course, not a nation but a culture group; but they're still idetified by Caesar and other writers of his time as more or less of a Nordic appereance. We should also keep in mind that after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was seized by the "barbarians" of the north and they had settled in Italy and other Roman lands in great numbers. Of course, there is no way they could have ever outnumbered the local population but they must have had some effect nevertheless. Not to mention how greatly diverse the Roman Empire itself was.

Awar
Friday, October 31st, 2003, 04:05 AM
Great discussion! An observer of any art must take into consideration that paintings cannot be the exact representation of race.

Red-headed people are rare in the Balkans, but I, as an artist usually depict people with much more reddish hair than it really is.

Reason: when you contrast Red-orange on a green background, you get a great vibrancy of colour and a pseudo 3D depth.

I simply like this effect... I wonder what could a future anthropologist deduct from a painting of mine.