Ancient Greek sculptors created physiques that aren’t anatomically possible.
It’s never been easier to get the "perfect body"—in a photo, that is. Filters and Photoshop can smooth out wrinkles, hide dark circles, give volume to limp hair, and firm up muscles. But while new technology and smartphones have certainly made editing selfies easier and more accessible, we’ve actually been nipping and tucking for thousands of years. “The Ancient Greeks definitively enhanced their statues, sculpting them in such a way to make them appear larger and more fit than is anatomically possible,” says Justin Mager, M.D., a San Francisco Bay Area-based exercise physiologist on the Equinox health advisory board. “The fact that these statues were essentially ‘Photoshopped’ reveals that our idea of a beautiful physique was never reasonable, even in antiquity.”
We asked Charles Stocking, Ph.D., assistant professor of classical studies at the University of Western Ontario, to tell us more about the history of Greek sculpture and why our ancient predecessors were just as obsessed with “the perfect body.”