Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Anthropometric Comparison of Painting Portraits of Beautiful Women, Femme Fatales, and Artists’ Mothers

Park, Ju Yong BS*; Hwang, Se Won†‡; Hwang, Kun MD, PhD§

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e3182a30e82
Anatomical Studies

The aim of this study was to compare the painting portraits of beautiful women, femme fatales, and artists’ mothers using anthropometry.

Portraits of each theme were selected in modern novels, essays and picture books, and categorized portraits. A total of 52 samples were collected, including 20 beautiful women, 20 femme fatales, and 12 artists’ mothers. In 5 persons, 17 anthropometric ratios including the alae-alae/zygion-zygion ratio were compared in a 15-degree oblique view and in anteroposterior view photographs, and they were proved to not differ significantly. To distinguish oblique portraits less than 15 degrees, we measured the exocanthion-stomion-exocanthion (ESE) angle in photographs of 5 volunteers. The mean ± SD of the ESE angle was 64.52 ± 4.87 in the 15-degree angle view and 57.68 ± 54.09 in the 30-degree angle view. Thereafter, if the ESE angle was greater than 65 degrees, we considered the portrait to have less than a 15-degree angle and included it in the samples.

The ratio did not differ significantly in 11 anthropometric proportions. However, the remaining 5 proportions were statistically significant. Beautiful women had wider noses (85% of the endocanthion-endocanthion width) than those of the femme fatale group (77%). Lips in the beautiful woman group are nicer and thicker (36% of lip’s width) compared with the artists’ mother group (27%). Femme fatales were relatively similar to beautiful women such as those women with nice and thick lips. However, the femme fatale group had an attractive midface ratio (36% of the total face height) that has been mentioned in the older literature, and the noses of the femme fatale group were narrower and sharper (77% of the endocanthion-endocanthion width) than those of the beautiful women (85%). The artists’ mother group has a relatively narrower upper face (29% of the total face height) and thinner lips (27% of the lip width) compared with the other 2 groups (36%).

Proportions from works of art are more ideal and attractive than clinically measured proportions. The ideal ratios measured from historical portraits might be useful in planning facial surgeries.

From the *Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea; †Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, United Kingdom; ‡Inha Research Institute for Medical Science; and §Department of Plastic Surgery, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.

Received March 20, 2013.

Accepted for publication May 12, 2013.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Kun Hwang, Department of Plastic Surgery, Inha University School of Medicine, 7-206 Sinheung-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon, 400-711, Korea; E-mail:

This work was supported by a grant from the INHA University (INHA Research Grant).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.