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"Bosoms: They've Been Prominent In History"

by Cyrus W. Bell



Vol. 5, No. 12,  1961

     IN THE YEAR 1505 when Henry VII was the King of England a crackerjack team of envoys left London for Valencia to size up the widowed Queen of Naples as a potential marriage partner for the young British monarch seeking a royal wife. King Henry had given instructions to his three representatives to make a reconnaissance and double-barreled survey of "her upper physique."
    Satisfied that Queen Joanna possessed considerable wealth and abundant land and that she had a reasonable amount of charm and poise, the King nevertheless sought something more than this in his bride. He wanted to know if "said woman's breasts were somewhat great and full." He ordered his scouting party "to mark her breasts and paps, whether they be big or small, and to ascertain whether they be trussed somewhat high."
    To King Henry the measurement of his intended spouse's upper anatomy was definitely not the least important part of her total property, as you can see from the way he dispatched sex spies all the way to Spain. Royal smartie that he was, Hank the Seventh wanted to know for sure whether the female who was to share his bed and board "was every inch a Queen."
    She was.
    For the envoys sent back a full report to the effect that "the said Queen's breasts were great and full to satisfaction." The report also noted that Joanna's globoids were trussed so high "after the manner of the country that her neck appears shorter than it is."
    Speaking of King Henry's sex mission to Spain, leads us right into the subject matter for today: Bosoms.
    This is a topic that would make any red-blooded research man titillate with excitement. When it comes toyou-know-what, all women fall somewhere between Anita Ekberg's (00) and Grace Kelly's (oo). And, according to historical documents, that's the way it has always been down through the ages, ever since the female form was first fashioned from Adam's rib.
    Some people today seem to think that this era's interest in the blouse-busting brigade is something that sprouted after World War II. Guess again, podner. People have been interested in the double-grapefruits for a long, long time. When it comes to "busting out all over," June, Joan and Jane have played prominent parts. (pun intended) throughout the centuries. Since the daughters of Eve have always made interesting pets for men, this documented article will make a clean breast of everything and trace the history and body-logy of Adam's bosom pal. So here's the lowdown on the upper story.
    First, let's go all the way back to Egypt. Scientists exploring the tombs of the Pharaohs discovered that these ole timers knew a good thing, too. On the murals of nearly every Egyptian tomb have been found paintings of the femme figure dressed at half-mast. One famous drawing, titled "Banquet Scene," dates From the reign of the 18th Dynasty, the great Ikhnaton, who hies back to 1350 B.C.
    Even the ancient tribes that roamed England--the Britons and the Picts--used the female front for what probably were man's first movies. Once a year these barbarians staged a feast in honor of the goddess Anu--at which time the young girls all tinted their pectoral appendages with various dyes and tattoos.
    Then when the maidens danced, the men sat back and enjoyed the pictorial pectorals which quivered in slow motion. These were the first motion pictures. Naturally the Academy Award went to the best "movie" put on by the lassie who had the largest screen surface. The Britons and the Picts apparently recognized the advantages of CinemaScope 2,000 years before Hollywood.
    Not all of the ancient peoples, however, have held the breast in such high esteem. In Greek history, according to Herodotus, the tribe of warrior women who were defeated and taken prisoner by the Greeks used to burn the right bosom off so that in battle it would not interfere with the handling of a spear or a bow and arrow. Hence the name Amazon, which means "breastless." The Amazons eventually made their escape by sea to the Crimea and mixed with the Scythians. The offspring of these intermarriages abandoned the practice of removing one breast because the women decided to emphasize the differences between the sexes and be sweethearts as well as soldiers.
    Man's treasure chest, unfortunately, received still another setback, along the course of its history, during the Middle Ages, when the Inquisition developed torture and punishment into one of the prevailing fine arts. To punish an offending female, an executioner would tie her to a pole with arms stretched up ward. Then he would drive long spikes sideways through her breasts and nail the wretched victim to the wooden post.
    On the other hand, the Renaissance brought, for the first time in several centuries, an appreciation of Eve's features north of her equator. In their dress women began to remove the cloth that had constricted their throats and gradually freed the line of the neck. The line moved down and soon fashionable ladies of Florence, proud of their décolletage, were showing the first swelling of the breasts.
    Now it didn't take long for the artists to get into the act. Painters and sculptors, bold spirits that they were, were quick to seize the opportunity to depict chesty women sans brassiere--both in marble and on canvas. Botticelli's "Venus Anadyomene" was one of the first art works to kick off the trend--it showed her covering her intimate parts as if she were captured nude on the high seas by pirates and were looking for some garments to cover her accessories.
    But the real art of the nude bosom was born in Venice. This lagoon city made no bones about admitting that milady was interesting in so far as she excited the senses. The painter responsible for starting the ball rolling was a genius known as Giorgione ("Big George," if you prefer the English translation of his name). Although he died in early manhood at the age of 32, in an epidemic of the plague, Giorgione became one of the most influential nude painters of the Renaissance. Women besieged this genius to have him paint their bountiful breasts for all to see. This is nice work, if you can get it--and Big George got it.
    Unfortunately, only a few of his authentic paintings survive today. The most famous one, "Sleeping Venus," is now in the Dresden Gallery in Germany. According to a top art historian, the contours and proportions of Giorgione's Venus are delicately perfect and harmonious against the landscape setting. In his "Rustic Concert," now in the Louvre in Paris, Giorgione enhances the charm of his nude by placing behind her two fully clad male figures--a gimmick subsequently copied by many painters.
    Giorgione's fellow countryman, Titian, carried on the movement of painting the undraped bosom for fully two generations after the former's premature death. Kings and emperors competed for "Venuses" which Titian turned out like sausages to satisfy the demands of the Renaissance VIP's. Titian's stuff was even more interesting to the men because many of the portraits were of grand ladies of the era. The Duchess of Urbino, for example, sat stripped for hours on end as Titian's model. The canvas is still on public exhibition in Florence's Uffizi Gallery.
    Other famous masterpieces of this type of art are Rembrandt's "Daphne," Goya's "Nude Maja" and Tintoretto's "Susannah." This last piece alone is valued at over a million dollars and is on exhibit in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. Mention also should be made of Germany's Lucas Cranach the Elder whose sensual figures make him the master north of the Alps, largely for the clever way he contrasted his bared courtesans with wavy feathered hats.
    Curiously enough, France--which normally leads the continent in the field of sexual pleasure--lagged be hind the Italians in adopting the cult of the nude breast. Comparatively late in French art did such painting begin to emerge. Perhaps the most daring example is the one, done by an unknown hand, which is in the Louvre. In it two young women sit side by side in a bath--one of th. girls is touching the other's nipple
    Although the French took a long time to catch up to their southern counterparts on the long thin Mediterranean peninsula, they eventually--as was to be expected--surpassed the Italians and went them several steps better.
    Around the time of the French Revolution, according to official documents, a number of well-known actresses and ballet dancers frequently walked along the fashion able streets of Paris with their bosoms completely exposed. For nearly three years this was a fad among showbiz dolls who were inordinately well endowed. This particular style of dressing caused its share of sensation, but never a scandal. Need less to say, it was especially good for business at the boxoffice.
    The pendulous Parisienne who started this unique fashion was one Theresia Cabarrus, sometimes described as the possessor of the most beautiful twin-pointers in all history. Theresia, a brunette from Bordeaux who bragged that she never wore a bra in her life, was said to have measured 111.76 centimeters on top, 40.64 cm. in the middle and 81.28 cm. down below. So if you do your metric measurement arithmetic properly, that comes out to a startling 44--16-32.
    By a quirk of fate Theresia al most never had an opportunity to show her stuff to the world, for during her teen years she was arrested as a counter-revolutionary and sentenced by Robespierre to be guillotined. If it hadn't been for the intervention of Bordeaux's pro-consul, Jean-Lambert Tallien, who was a member of the Convention and who was indeed fascinated by her enormous dimensions upstairs, Theresia might have made a premature exit with her beautiful head detached from the superb rest of her. What a loss that would have been!
    Paris today still retains some of the after effects of Theresia's bare-breasted boulevard bravado. Today if you visit the Paris Opera House near the American Express office you'll be hit squarely between the eyes by the lineup of stacked statues which surround the venerable theare on the outside. They're all female dancers in dionysiac ecstasy who are wearing nothing above the ankles. They are the work of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, leading sculptor of the Second Empire, whose inspiration came years later from top-heavy Theresia's biography. An organized storm of indignation erupted in the French capital because of the "naked women on the boulevard," but nothing came of the howls.
    Another influence of Theresia's public display of her unique equipment was to give rise to the strip tease as we know it today. Taking a cue from the mammarific mademoiselle, American actress Adah Isaacs Menken is generally credited with having performed the first stage striptease in 1863 while appearing in the title role of "Mazeppa" in London. Since that time the art of shedding the bra has projected into a big business.
    Registration figures from the American Guild of Variety Artists show that there are more than 2,000 strippers currently paying dues. One of these peel-for-pay packages is Evelyn West, who has had her 42- inch front insured for $50,000 by Lloyds of London. Another Guild performer, sleek Ann Corio, achieved a certain immortality for herself when it became known that Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes would visit the Gaiety Burlesque Theatre in Washington every week just to view her topographically perfect superstructure which she bared with dual personality.
    Today's crop of D-cup lovelies have figure-filbert connoisseurs all over America specializing in seam- bursting statistics. No living citizen of the United States, be he over the age of 15½, can honestly say he's never heard of Anita Ekberg's eminent 40-22-37, or Sabrina's pulsating 42-18-36, or Jayne Mansfield's whistle-bait 41-20-35. These are numbers that are more famous than No. 10 Downing Street.
    The bosom has come into its own since great English poet Robert Herrick wrote his classic ode entitled, "Upon the Nipples of Julia's Breast," in a century when young women tended to be ashamed of Nature's bilateral masterpiece. To day busts are booming. The bosom derby is in high. Stocks such as Formfit common and Maidenform preferred have bounced up.
    These are bare facts. Such figures as 39-23-36 and 38-24-35 in the sexonomic curve of the graph add up to a lot of nifty numbers. With the tight sweater queens showing off their assets, they have hit upon a form-ula that has created quite a bit of interest in the front lines of big business.

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