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Silhouette : From the 18th Century to the Present Day (Hardcover) (Georges Vigarello)
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The silhouette, outlining the profile and contours of the human body, is laden with meanings. Instantly recognizable, it can convey physical health and well-being as well as indicate taste, class, beauty and style. Since the appearance of the word 'silhouette' in 1760, its various connotations have evolved over time, and its significance has increased exponentially to the point where the shape of the body and its 'ideal' forms have become a central obsession in modern culture.
Tracing the history of the silhouette from its origins in the simple sketches of a finance minister in 18th century France, its shift in emphasis from the face to the body and gradual scientific categorization, to its emergence as a widely recognized marker of status, sexuality, virtue and physical 'perfection', The Silhouette is a highly original examination of the cultural weight of the human figure.
Richly illustrated and beautifully written by leading scholar Georges Vigarello, this nuanced and ground-breaking book charts the rise of silhouette in the west during a time of enormous social and political change, revealing how and why we have become so fixated with the contours of our bodies.