While most of our daily inspiration for all things beauty and wellness comes from social media or online beauty gurus, we’ve found that there’s a whole lot of hands-on advice to be found from the Old Masters. We spent some time examining works by Renoir, Klimt and Condo, and realised that when it comes to beauty advice, they’ve got as much to offer as the most celebrated Hollywood dermatologist. Ditch your life coach and instead spend a few hours analysing the secrets of eternal youth, as revealed by the world’s creative masters.
If a Renoir girl can teach us anything, it’s to never leave the house without sunscreen. We all know the evils of UV rays, so follow her example and escape the sun in style. Cover up your arms and legs, never venture into the sunshine, seek out shady spots, and apply very liberal amounts of sunscreen.
Queen Of Brows
This guy was all about highlighting and contouring long before beauty vloggers or the Kardashians caught on. Pay special attention the eyebrows (in fact, call your brow bar right this minute), and don’t shy away from the rouge. If you’re feeling adventurous, go full-Klimt with a choker, gold silk coat and a splash of Asiatika wallpaper in the background.
Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer I,1907
Hippie De Luxe
This one’s a little easier. Raid your grandmother’s closet or trawl the nearest vintage shop (try vestiairecollective.com) for a hippie floral blouse. Alessandro Michele did us a solid by reviving all things floral, so it’s still a safe bet. If you’re brave enough to add some contrasting elements to your romantic look, consider getting a bold tattoo on your forearm (is that an octopus or tribal armband?) and you’re ready to rock the streets from London to Laos.
Elizabeth Peyton, Ozzy 2, 2002
Dye your hair an achingly beautiful shade of red or strawberry blonde. Straighten your mane beyond recognition to achieve that super sleek look and tie it all together in a neat ponytail. Choose your least appropriate shirt – the one with the plunging neckline your dad hates. Now for the tricky part: to achieve a flawless imitation, you’ll need to get rid of an eye. Don’t be put off by this challenge; instead think of inventive ways to achieve this look, like gluing an empty Tupperware or small paper cup over the superfluous eye. Colour it blue and vóila, you’ve got the look! Now the only thing missing is a ridiculously thin eyebrow, so we suggest just shaving yours off and redrawing it back on with a fine-tipped marker instead. Done!
George Condo, Smiling Woman, 2009
Adjust Your Crown
Whether it’s Obama’s official portrait or large-scale renderings of major hip-hop and pop culture icons, the beauty of Wiley’s subjects lies in proper self-staging, and most of us could probably learn a thing or two. Start off by wearing your track pants (or joggers, excuse us) to run mundane errands, like picking up bagels on a Sunday morning, but add a healthy dose of exaggerated pride and uber attitude. Repeat the mantra ‘breasts out, belly in’ as you walk, and for best results maintain a stony look, refusing to smile or speak. For that extra bit of extra, clip in some hair extensions and rock a serious yet understated updo.
Kehinde Wiley, Shantavia Beale II, 2012
Ice Cream and Weights
Now that the outsides taken care of – thanks to the likes of Klimt, Condo and Renoir – it’s time to focus on inner wellbeing, and who better than Maja Djordjevic to be our art world life coach? To release your inner goddess – your Venus 3.0 – you’ll need the following: pixels, daisies, ice cream, weights, and eventually, a banana. Then, divert your energy and chakras towards things that make you laugh, surround yourself with positive energy, and meditate on a very vivid mental image of Madonna’s biceps when doing your next set of curls at the gym.
Maja Djordjevic, I love Mickey, 2017
Floss It, Baby
The formula for beauty á la Leonhard Hurzlmeier is easy: simplified geometric language meets the depiction of everyday tasks. Imagine a woman simultaneously doing the downward dog yoga pose and eating pasta or flossing her teeth. Once you’ve conjured this very specific image, abstract her shape into brightly-coloured Lego Duplo Bricks, and you’ve got it: beauty and grace according to Hurzlmeier. The key takeaway here is that the weirder you look, the more likely you are to qualify as a Hurzlmeier muse. Who knows, maybe #flossingforhurzlmeier or #eatingnoodlesforhurzlmeier will become a thing?
Leonhard Hurzlmeier, Dentist Getting Ready, 2014
Photos via TheArtGorgeous magazine