By M. Hatzaki
A ignored point of Byzantium, actual attractiveness seems to be as a high quality with an unmistakable darkish part, bearing on ambiguously to notions of energy, goodness, evil, masculinity, effeminacy, lifestyles and dying. tested as an characteristic of the human and, particularly, of the male physique, this learn of good looks refines our knowing of the Byzantine global.
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Additional resources for Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium: Perceptions and Representations in Art and Text
It is Hysmini’s black, lively and playful eyes, however, that are portrayed in most curiously geometric terms. 66 The persistent geometry of these descriptions is echoed in other Byzantine writing that describes the beauty of maidens as so great and also so schematic that it appears to have been rendered by the painter’s hand. 67 In Eugenianos’s Drosilla and Chariclis the author not only dwells (twice) on the perfect circles of Drosilla’s eyebrows but adds that Nature, like a painter, had mixed milk with roses in her complexion, giving her truly white-and-rosy skin.
Judging from the self-propagatory feel of the visual representation, it seems that these images evoked something of how Neophytos saw himself and wished to be seen by others. The facial features with which 24 Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium he is represented seem thus to reflect something of the Recluse’s ideal self-image. 54 What the case of Neophytos appears to suggest is that, in determining the appearance of his ‘likeness’ in the Enkleistra, the Recluse uses elements from the vocabulary of physical beauty to create his ideal portrait-likeness; physical beautification is added to the ideal self-image propagated by the portrait with which Neophytos makes his bid for self-sanctification, reflecting the perceived importance of this quality.
The head of Nikephoros, which is given a slightly odd eight-shaped form, is marked by its distinctive bone structure, strong cheekbones, sunken, heavily shaded cheeks and protruding mouth. His bony nose, which is long in proportion to the rest of his face, appears to stand out at a sharp angle and culminates at a pointed tip. His small eyes are framed by wrinkles at the corners, while lines also mark his brow and cheeks. Unlike Nikephoros’s likeness, that of Anna’s presents a rounded face with smooth contours, regular features and flawless skin.