Beauty in the Murder

No murder is beautiful, yet Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) has depicted brutal beauty in his paintings. Caravaggio himself was incorrigible criminal who had been imprisoned many times. His short tempered character got him into even a murder.

Despite troubles, imprisonment, escape to Sicily; Caravaggio never lost enthusiasm to paint. He has produced remarkable paintings with an obsession to depict decapitation. More importantly, Caravaggio did not care about ideal beauty, while his Renaissance counterparts represented beauty in its ideal form as flawless and perfect. Rather than copying of the classics, Caravaggio revealed cruelty in beauty. He transformed beauty in a way that nothing even a murder can overshadow its impact. Isn’t it actual beauty that standstills in spite of tyranny, homicide and poverty? Let’s take a look at how Caravaggio represented beauty in his significant pieces:

Madonna dei Pellegrini o di Loreto
Madonna di Loreto
  • Madonna di Loreto: Virgin Mary welcomes two poor pilgrims with naked Jesus in her arms. The point is, the feet of pilgrim are also bare suggesting their equality with the Virgin. First thing one might be dazzled would be two opposite forms of the beauty:One is young Mary who has blushed cheekbones, a gentle neck and nicely positioned of feet. However, on the other side, woman pilgrim looks quite old, poor and filthy. Nevertheless, prominent facial features and long eyelashes on the pilgrim suggest that she is beautiful, although she is wretched.
  • The Beheading of the St John the BaptistThis painting is widely accepted as masterpiece of Caravaggio. The bloody scene does not prevent us to notice beauty of the woman on the left holding a golden bowl that the head will be placed in. In contrast with the old woman who is about to cry out, the young one looks indifferent, strong and honorable. This opposition reveals that beauty does not mean only celestial features attributed to human, but also strength and cruelty.

    Michelangelo_Caravaggio_021
    The Beheading of the St John the Baptist
  • Young Sick Bacchus: It is almost impossible to feel that Bacchus is sick in this piece. His green flesh, grey lips, and dark under-eyes are unable to conceal the youth and elegance of Bacchus, as mouth watering grapes that he holds still look bright despite a few crumpled dark grapes.

    Young_Sick_Bacchus-Caravaggio_1593
    Young Sick Bacchus
  • Judith Beheading Holofernes: According to description from The book of Judith, Judith has seduced Holofernes for the sake of her people. However, beuaty is not hidden in the seduction and pleasure. Caravaggio thought that beauty that deserved to paint was decapitation of Holofernes. It is difficult to resist power and elegance of Judith. She is beautifully dressed, although this is a death scene. Her distance to the victim and nervous lips suggest that she does what she has to do, not what she wants, as if she is ready to forgive him if she hesitates one second.

    caravaggio_judith_beheading_holofernes.jpg
    Judith Beheading Holofernes

Well, but what does Caravaggio tell us? Caravaggio has shown us that killing someone is a repulsive act, even to a murderer, but real beauty does not lose its form in any case such as poverty, sickness or homicide. And he leaves a question mark there, maybe these are the times when beauty and elegance are revealed?

Advertisements

Eyeko Power

Hi!

Let me introduce you my favorite mascara brand: Eyeko.

Here I am not going to make comment but show only the results. You’re the one who is going to judge this London-based brand.

Basically I have 4 products:

  1. Eyeko Alexa Chung Eye Do Mascara (Lengthening)
  2. Eyeko Brow Gel
  3. Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara (Lengthening)
  4.  Eyeko Black Magic Mascara (Drama and curl)
  5. Shu Uemura S-Curler and Sephora Heated Eyelash Curler

 

Here is the results! As name suggests, Eyeko only focuses on eye products which allows them to do their job at high quality. Eventually, of course it is your decision to give a chance to this admirably consistent brand.

 

 

Pop-Art and Kiehl’s Pharmacy

Andy Warhol is considered as the most iconic person in modern art, mainly due to his  impressive contributions to a new-borning art, that is what we call today “pop-art“. He was a big fan of Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion that has been launched in late 1960s by Kiehl’s. That time, Kiehl’s was a unassuming pharmacy at the intersection of Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street, that had been founded by John Kiehl.lris3n-lris2fpicture11

Rumour has it, Andy Warhol used to pop in the pharmacy to buy Herbal Lotion. I may not be as idiosyncratic as Andy Warhol; when I was passing by a Kiehl’s store last weekend, I thought I should have a look as a scientist and art-lover.

 

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

Being tested other solutions to cure my persistent dark spots on my upper lip area, I can say that Kiehl’s Clearly Corrector Dark Spot Solution is the best until I find anything better! You can see difference within a week! I am not kidding or promoting this product, just give it a try! I am too happy to see they disappeared finally. 😀

 

 

 

 

Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo
Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo
Other product I bought is Amino Acid Shampoo which I was given a tester long before. Unlike other paraben-free and silicon-free shampoos, this one bubbles enough to feel like a real shampoo. Also, strangely, I don’t feel I need any conditioner after rinsing. My hair became more controllable and less frizzy.

They gave me a 65ml Grapefruit hand and body lotion which I loved the scent of.

Collectively, Kiehl’s products do justice to their pharmacological history, because they work, seriously! ❤️😍

Scientific Beauty

Leo Tolstoy says: “It is not beauty that endears, it is love that makes us see beauty” in War and Peace, 1869. You don’t need to write such a thick book to confirm this if you think that your girlfriend is the most beautiful creature in the world. Or you think your mom looks extremely charming in her black dress, but then why do we agree most of the time on if someone is good looking or not? Why do Miss World winners look undeniable beautiful for everyone?

You have extremely symmetrical face babe!

Although we can’t define beauty in numbers, there are some qualifications that we have evolved to perceive as attractive. Human body has pretty much symmetrical appearance which otherwise would seem unpleasant or annoying from outside. Face is no exception for this. Therefore, symmetry of the face is very important factor. It has been shown that people tend to prefer their mates having a symmetrical facial morphology.

I adore your averageness…

Second hallmark of beauty is averageness which refers to how alike does an individual look to people in the community. This means the more you look like your ethnic group, the more you are beautiful. Scientists revealed many possible evolutionary reasons behind this preference. For example, one theory suggests that people looking like each other have more diverse genetic background. Therefore, once they mate, their genetic pool will be richer which is advantageous for immune system and adaptation to environment [1].

Hormones

Another characteristic is secondary sexual features in face which is directly associated with hormones. If you think no matter how skinny you’re, you always have a puffy face, then this could be resulted from your oestrogen levels. Strikingly, both Caucasians and Japanese people have been shown to tend to select feminine looking males in Caucasians and Japanese. Although feminine facial structure is considered as preferable for both sides, ideal male figure does not seem to be regulated directly by hormones.

Healthy Skin 
If I would say a healthy-looking skin is crucial beholder, you wouldn’t be surprised, I guess. A healthy-looking appearance, even skin colour without blemishes and good quality of skin texture are the factors contributing a healthy-looking face. It has been studied extensively that, not only humans but also other primates like to choose healthy looking mates which is again a trait developed to have better genetic pool for future generations. In a study, scientists found that a red-looking face is more attractive which can be explained by blood carrying more oxygen thereby a healthier individual [2].

Annoying beautiful paintings
On the other hand, to understand how we perceive the beauty, it is necessary to tease out what the ugliness is. What makes us think that someone or something is ugly or bad looking? What are the critical factors that drive us to avoid someone when those elements are deformed? It is hard to find a common ‘bad’ or shockingly ugly for everyone. Well, indeed Francis Bacon was in the search of terribly shocking figures. Two scientists from University College London, revealed why we feel disturbed when we see his paintings. They monitored brain activities of people who are shown Bacon’s most annoying pieces. Strangely, the area illuminated was far from being the area allocated for facial perception in the brain, which means Bacon somehow modified them so much so that they don’t seem like a human face anymore, although they have components that a human face requires.
Overall, beauty seem to have some constitutive components, yet it is challenging to base it on only scientific reasons, because humans are not perfect, so are their faces. As Francis Bacon said, “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in proportion”. I feel what beauty is will remain as a mystery for very long time, or perhaps the secret is hided somewhere in Bacon’s paintings.

 

 

  1. Honekopp, J., T. Bartholome, and G. Jansen, Facial attractiveness, symmetry, and physical fitness in young women. Hum Nat, 2004. 15(2): p. 147-67.
  2. Zeki, S. and T. Ishizu, The “Visual Shock” of Francis Bacon: an essay in neuroesthetics. Front Hum Neurosci, 2013. 7: p. 850.

New Year Surrealists

It is November. I guess you’ve already had a long list of what to wish for the next year. Some of you wish to be successful, some of you wish for money, a boyfriend or simple things like a buttery pretzel (as i do now 🙂 ). I can imagine how important they are. You can’t even bare the idea of living without a car next year. You would rather keep living in 2016. Then, please do.

Let say, God created the world in a way that there is a quota for the New Year. Let’s suppose he said you are not allowed to get into new year unless you achieve your wishes you’ve made last year. Well, then you would better be careful what you wish for. I mean you could define your targets more realistic, or you would be more ambitious about your aims. In that Utopia, I am almost certain that we would be more appreciative about our life. This would teach us how to pursue things that we want most.

Billions of people around the world wait for the end of the year. They even dare to celebrate it with fireworks and shows. What for? New wishes which will never come true, a hope monger Santa whom existence is disputable and eventually disappointment to realize that you cannot change anything in a day. This year do a favor for yourself, don’t wish anything but DO IT.

If you think you can’t, you can only pray and wait it to happen miraculously, well then, I have a suggestion for you my little surrealists; stay in 2016, please.

Adele Bloch’s Portrait

I would call myself cruel if I wouldn’t mention Estée Lauder in a beauty blog. Estée Lauder is a US based manufacturer whose net income touched almost 1.2 billion in 2014. Unlike men founded cosmetics companies, Estée Lauder began with only four skin products in 1946. What makes Estée Lauder special for me is how they changed the perception of beauty. Although they are in makeup sector as well, they pursue a more naturalist ideology. They use this concept everywhere like their color (usually light turquoise or pink), models and stands. You may say ‘come on… you don’t need a strong ideology to run a company’ You are right but this would be very materialistic perspective, since these things make a brand – brand. It is like admiring a person who works with passion. Anyway, Estée Lauder’s son’s name, Ronald Lauder, has been written in the records when he bought one of the most expensive painting, Gustav Klimt’s – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I in 2006. He would have bought any other splashy masterpiece, why this one? This painting is considered as a symbol of beauty depicting a woman in golden phase. After 2006, Estée Lauder became not only a pioneer in the field but also a brand using ‘beauty’ as inspiration to their products.

Today’s post will be on three items from Estée Lauder. This set is called as ‘Clear Difference’. They guarantee you a clearer, flawless skin. Intensive boosting lotion comes first. It has very smooth texture with cucumber and rosemary scent. Then you apply serum which has witch hazel reducing appearance of blemishes and Laminaria saccharina used as whitening agents. Last step is hydrating crème/gel with primrose oil in it. All in all, it provides a refreshing feeling, not oily. I personally use this set for couple of months. Usually I have never bought a product more than once (this is maybe because I like to change them), but now I don’t see any reason to replace it. Beside quality of it, the brand makes me feel I am in safe hands where beauty is the best policy.

20160220_200535_-1567790402

Saturday

20160221_081225_-795523851I think today is a good day to start writing my stories here. Please don’t think that this is going to be a monologue. I hope you find a bit of yourself, your life and thoughts while you’re reading. I can’t pledge a fantastic blog here, yet life is far from being perfect (isn’t it!).

Why is this a beauty-science-human affairs blog? They don’t sound relevant at all! That is exactly what I want to do! As being a scientist or beauty-obsessed scientist, I like to share things seem irrelevant but getting somehow connected. All products we are using are tested in laboratories. Scientists design them to solve some particular skin problems (sometimes to make you look pretty :)). Therefore it is very very important to understand the ingredients of a product. It helps you to chose the best product for your skin. On the other hand, It is hard to explain everything with a scientific logic (at least now). I always believe that beauty comes from confident. This is why it is crucial to mold a character/style in order to get a better you. Whatever you do, whoever you are, you will be happy with your style. Please help me with your feedbacks and comments to improve this blog.