External or internal beauty?

External or internal beauty?
Isabel del Rio


Frequently, I have been confused hearing this or that person was handsome. To me, they were ordinary people with any particular sign of beauty.

Specially shocking are celebrations with the family like weddings or Christmas Eve dinners, when different generations are sitting together to enjoy and freely speak. The oldest family members start to admire the beauty of that actress of the 40’s or 50’s who is, no doubt, fat and badly hair dressed for the youngest ones…Then, what would they say about “models of beauty” of several centuries ago?

Mona Lisa’s eyebrows have disappeared and her front was excessively wide. Rubens’ superstar Muse had cellulites and the neck of Nefertiti, queen of Egypt, seems the one of a giraffe… Of course, a similar thing happens with ancient masculine seducers because, according with their portraits, Henry the 8th had double chin, Alexander the Great was too short and Casanova needed to go on a diet.

-Well, well -some sensible people can say-. Everyone has its personal taste and although current marketing workers are trying to unify our opinions, some people keep on independents and prefer, for example, a man wearing glasses, with some intellectual air, than a Brad Pitt’s stereotype, only suitable for a weekend on the beach.

-Yes, I agree –I used to answer- but…

This portrait by Sofonisba Anguissola represents Ana de Mendoza, princess of Éboli, who was breaking hearts in Spain during the second half part of the 16th century. She had an average size of front and fortunately, two ordinary eyebrows but…

-Well, well –although I am not sensible at all, I could say or at least, mutter-. When has it been in fashion to have only one eye? Among pirates? Among warriors? Among who? From Nelson to Blas de Lezo, all of the biographies I have read about brave sailors, who had lost some important part of their body or face, consider that their injured protagonists had preferred to maintain their first appearance.

However, Ana de Mendoza was able to win the love of every powerful man of her time (we do not have testimonies about the others; lamentably, they did not use to pass to the History) and we can include the king Felipe the 2nd among them.

She had money, she was born in the richest Spanish family of that time and was widow of a prince, but nor Felipe the 2nd nor Antonio Pérez, his minister, nor the other Lords in relationship with her were snoopers in debts to Armani or who wanted to sell a scoop on TV. What happened then?

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt

-Well, well –we could at least think- Perhaps she had a very interesting personality, did not she?

-No, no!

-… or maybe, yes.

We live in a superficial time where nobody pays attention to immaterial aspects like personality, friendship, culture or conversation. We live in an industrial time where all is made quickly and we have forgotten to enjoy afternoons with somebody who makes us laugh…, even if he/she has not got eyebrows or his/her front is too wide. We live in an empty time and we adore our external appearance trying to forget we must get old and ugly and ill. We need to look back and understand that great seducers or seductress have been ever something more than a nice face.

-No, no!

-… or maybe, yes.

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