• Steven Heller

Platonic Perfection

If there is a Platonic ideal of beauty, must all people adhere to it, or only those holding that view? Beauty in art is in the eye and hand of the one beholding the pen or brush. In the late 1940s, when this booklet The Use of Heads in Commercial Art was produced, stereotypes of the Platonic ideal and accepted fashions were sophomoric.

American beauty was fairly classical and clean, without room for too many blemishes. Handsome men were tough-jawed with chiseled features, while pretty women were radiant with full lips and a rather long head with well-rounded contours and a slender neck.

Illustration is no longer exacting when it comes to beauty or perfection, but there was a time when perfection followed rules, and rules were not meant to be broken by mere commercial artists.

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