4 Facts About Capturing a Smile on Canvas or Photo Paper

Capturing a Smile

Are we happier today? Who knows, but we are more smiley. Here’s 4Todaa facts about capturing smiles across the centuries.

1. From The 16th Century and still captivating today. It’s Mona Lisa’s smile. It’s been the stuff of songs and debates across the centuries. Is it a smirk? Is it a smile? Does it say “come hither”? Leonardo de Vinci created a work of art that many find interactive. At first glance, it’s a flirt. Look again and, maybe, she’s changed her mind. In 1855, in the Histoire de Frances, Jules Michelet wrote, “This canvas attracts me, calls me, invades me. I go to it in spite of myself, like the bird to serpent.” So, what do you think that smile says.

2. Bad Teeth? Many think that the lack of smiles in classic works of individuals was done to hide their failing teeth. That’s probably not true. Yes, teeth were bad, but bad teeth were common. The Whig prime minister under Queen Victoria was lauded for his handsome looks – even though he was noticeably missing teeth. It was when he got false teeth that interfered with his ability to speak (he was afraid they’d fall out) that people made fun of him.

3. So, Why No Smiles? Two reasons are put forth to explain the history of capturing or not capturing the smile. First, smiles are spontaneous. Think about it. You may smile genuinely and easily the first time someone says “cheese”, but if they retake the photo several times, your smile starts to feel forced and unnatural. Painters didn’t capture a smile with the click of a button so to capture a “real” smile was difficult when the painting took place over days or weeks or more. Another reason, was that in the 17th century smiles were attributed to the lower classes, the drunks and those involved in lewd behavior. Smiling did not belong to the upper class. Jean-Baptiste De La Salle, in The Rules of Christian Decorum and Civility of 1703, wrote, “There are some people who raise their upper lip so high… that their teeth are almost entirely visible. This is entirely contradictory to decorum, which forbids you to allow your teeth to be uncovered, since nature gave us lips to conceal them.”

4. Today’s Famous Smile. Times change and the value of a smile changes. Think of one of today’s most famous smiles – the one that helped make the “Pretty Woman” one of our highest-paid and most beloved actresses. What does Julia Roberts say about her big grin? She says, “I am a genuinely and deeply happy person, which, as life goes on, you realize what great fortune that is….” Is there a better reason to smile?

Today, bad teeth can make you hide your smile. But, today’s amazing cosmetic dentistry can bring it back to life. If you have missing teeth, your dentist can fix those gaps with implants that not only look natural – they function like a natural tooth. Need a whiter smile or a straighter smile? Your dentist can handle it. Misshapen teeth? From veneers to crowns, your dentist is going to make you smile. Find a reliable, full-service dental office and put your smile in their competent hands!