Sunday, March 11, 2012

Body Image Sundays! The "Baker Dancer"

It occurred to me today that I haven't been flexing my Art History chops so much here at Nacho Mama's Blog. Art has always been a big part of my life and continues to be a big source of inspiration and motivation for me, especially when it comes to body image. SO I've decided to start a new weekly series, sharing some of my favorite empowering images of women throughout Art History.

Many of you know that, before deciding to go back to grad school, I had a career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met is FULL of beautiul representations of women throughout the centuries!

 I'm often asked what my favorite piece in the ENTIRE museum is. That's an easy one for me, it's definitely the "Baker Dancer"- a tiny little bronze statue from Ancient Greece. This is a piece I often saw people just walk right by without noticing, but I'll never forget the first time I saw it.
The "Baker Dancer", 3rd-2nd century BC, image via
I was 15 years old, and my father had taken me to New York for the very first time. I was dazzled by the city, it was so alive and full of color and art everywhere we went. I remember being completely overwhelmed by the Met, my eyes didn't know where to start. As we walked through the Greek Art galleries, I saw her. She was in a tiny vitrine, looking as though she were still in motion.

I couldn't believe how lifelike this little figure was, she seemed to be moving in so many directions at once. Her form was so womanly, curvy and thick and yet graceful as liquid. So different from the Degas ballerinas upstairs, I was mesmerized by her. I remember lingering at that vitrine for as long as I possibly could, not wanting to lose a moment with this tiny marvel. I couldn't have imagined then that I would one day work at that very instution, and that I would get to visit her at least once a day!

Until I saw this little statue (it stands only 8 inches high) it never occured to me to think of curvy women as "graceful" or "lithe", I remember the card on the vitrine saying that dancers like her were celebrated by the Alexandrian aristocracy. This sculpture sparked my imagination in a way no other piece in that humongous museum had, to think that a larger, curvy body could move with as much expression and vitality as any other.

I hope she inspires you, too! And if you're ever in New York and get a chance to visit the Met, I hope you'll pay her a visit. You won't regret it!

Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama


Bohemian Babushka said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful post and a chance to see beauty in another form. You are so right- Grace is an attitude not defined or excluded by body type. A bailar se ha dicho!


Unknown said...

In all my years of art history classes, I've never seen a sculpture like this. She's beautiful.
I used to go salsa dancing with my grad student pals and there would be these plump, middle aged Latinas dancing away. I admired their moves and hoped I had the grace and confidence when I got older. Not sure I do but maybe if I find myself some dance partners I'll give it a try.

Nacho Mama said...

Thank you so much ladies! :) Margo