Above is my promised second reclining nude by Ingres, “The Sleeping Odalisque,” to be delivered after responses to my post “Naked proportion.”
My promise to post another reclining nude by Ingres was slowed down by an apparent insufficiency of response. But the discussion of proportion is too important to stumble on a mere number. Is there really anything more to say about a reclining nude after all is seen and done? Who, after all, wants to comment on the proportion of a reclining nude when she is there to feast your eye on? (In fairness to a certain proportion of readers, I should probably post a reclining nude of the male persuasion, if possible.)
In the nick of time comes an intellectual debate in Paper Magazine, an online journal at Vice.com, which has published an essay by Eleanor Morgan called “Getting to the Bottom of Kim Kardasian’s Alien Appeal.” It discusses what the headline suggests, but it is really about the celebrity’s ample bottom line. “Is it real or is it Memorex,” I asked a friend, who voiced an understandable skepticism at my bringing the subject up. But since this thread of posts discusses the subject of proportion in architecture, I have decided to post the photo of Kardashian in order to riff on Roger Scruton’s main (architectural) point that beauty is really less a matter of proportion than of the detail of the architecture in question. A beautiful building achieves that status not because it obeys an arithmetical ideal but because its aesthetic features trigger a positive response in the observer.
That reasoning may sound hopelessly circular; I trust readers will be more titillated (intellectually) than offended. This is, after all, a family-oriented architectural blog. I promise, however, that reader response will not trigger yet another nude, reclining or otherwise, except for the reclining male nude below, offered in a spirit of fairness and diversity.