The proportions of the perfect human figure are strictly mathematical. The whole figure is six times the length of the foot. Whether the form be slender or plump, this rule holds good. Any deviation from it is a departure from the highest beauty of proportion. The Greeks made all their statues according to this rule. The face, from the highest point of the forehead, where the hair begins, to the end of the chin, is one-tenth of the whole stature. The hand, from the wrist to the end of the middle finger, is the same. The chest is a fourth, and from the nipples to the top of the head is the same. From the top of the chest to the highest point of the forehead is a seventh. If the length of the face, from the roots of the hair to the chin, be divided into three equal parts, the first division determines the point where the eyebrows meet, and the second the place of the nostrils. The navel is the central point of the human body, and if a man should lie on his back with his arms and legs extended, the periphery of the circle which might be described around him, with the navel for its center, would touch the extremities of his hands and feet. The height from the feet to the top of the head is the same as the distance from the extremity of one hand to the extremity of the other when the arms are extended.
The Venus de Medici is considered the most perfect model of the female forms, and has been the admiration of the world for ages. Alexander Walker, after minutely describing this celebrated statue, says: "All these admirable characteristics of the female form, the mere existence of which in woman must, one is tempted to imagine, be even to herself, a source of ineffable pleasure, these constitute a being worthy, as the personification of beauty, of occupying the temples of Greece; present an object finer, alas, than Nature even seems capable of producing; and offer to all nations and ages a theme of admiration and delight." Well might Thomson say:So stands the statue that enchants the world,So, bending, tries to vail the matchless boast—The mingled beauties of exulting Greece.
We beg our readers to observe the form of the waist (evidently innocent of corsets and tight dresses) of this model woman, and also that of the Greek Slave in the accompanying outlines. These forms are such as unperverted nature and the highest art alike require. To compress the waist, and thereby change its form, pushing the ribs inward, displacing the vital organs, and preventing the due expansion of the lungs, is as destructive to beauty as it is to health.