Somebody got it in their head that going back through famous paintings out of the 1400’s and altering them to meet today’s beauty standards would be a good idea. This has naturally lead to comments along the lines of “ these nudes wouldn’t be considered paintable by today’s standards. And that today’s standards are stupid.” To which I respond to the first with a resounding no doubt, and to the second with a “you must be trying to bed a feminist”.
Putting aside the modern conveniences of cosmetics, including surgery, and the technical such as Photoshop, today’s women simply outclass those from 500-600 years ago. That is just the nature of the modern world. Things like better nutrition, less disfigurement due to disease, and less exposure to the elements play a huge part on improving beauty of today’s women. Times were rough back then and 90% of the women out there were engaged in manual labor from sun up to sun down. Outside the wealthy merchant class or the nobility the toll on the body began at 7 or 8 not the late teens. In fact most women were pregnant by the mid-teens back then leaving a very short window in which everything was tight, so to speak. No doubt the reason for many of the relatively slender nudes save for the post-pregnancy pouch was because many of them were in fact post pregnancy. With a mean first child age of 28+ in Western Europe the window of opportunity also increases.
The second reason why today’s subjects of beauty outclass those of the past in terms of looks is just math. There are 10 times as many Europeans walking around the continent today than when those painters were painting. Moreover, communication has moved past the horse and sailboat stage. So if you are looking for the top 1% in beauty instead of 400,000 women there are no 4 million, and they are easier to find.