In 1787 critics of the Paris Salon were scandalised by a painting exhibited by Mme Vigée Le Brun. The subject was conventional enough: a self-portrait of the artist cradling her small daughter. The problem was that Vigée Le Brun was depicted smiling. You could even see her teeth. This was, as one critic put it, ‘an affectation which artists, connoisseurs and people of good taste are unanimous in condemning’.The Bomber is currently rocking a fixed lower brace and a removable upper one that he has to adjust each Sunday. On our next visit in the new year, they are to be connected by rubber bands. I can't help but wonder if the unnamed Eighteenth century critic above might have had a point.
Smiles are fleeting, says Mary Beard, and hard to pin down. The perfect smile is a modern obsession. Blame the dental-industrial complex... more»