Just like our Alexandria VA podiatrist, any artist who has done a proper study of the human anatomy knows that the foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 42 muscles, and at least 50 ligaments and tendons that work in concert to support your body weight every day. As hard as they work, feet are often neglected, and that’s when problems like blisters, bunions, corns, calluses, and heel spurs arise. Some artists chose to pay homage to this overlooked part of the body, perhaps acknowledging that humans literally can’t move forward without them!
The artist’s use of natural light makes the figure appear to glow from the sun during her midday nap. We don’t know who Leighton’s muse was or what she was dreaming about, but her foot is flexed, as if she’s ready to spring from the chair if there’s a knock at the door. We can just make out that there are five toes with unpolished nails (nail polish will come a couple of decades later) and not much of an arch. This painting was completed during the Victorian Era, a time when it was considered inappropriate for a lady to show her feet. June is probably relaxing at home, giving her feet a well-deserved break from the heeled, lace-up boots that were the usual footwear for women of this time.
This painting depicting the meager and solitary life of an artist was completed during Picasso’s Blue Period. Only the guitar deviates from the blue scheme Picasso used for both figure and background. The man is frail from age and poverty. He sits cross-legged on the ground with his arches facing out. He has long, skinny toes and prominent ankle bones. Picasso was particularly empathetic to the misery associated with being poor, sick, or outcast, having been nearly penniless himself for a year.
Cassatt was an American artist who spent most of her life in France and was the only American to show her work alongside French Impressionists. This is considered one of her greatest paintings for its glimpse into the tender relationship between a mother and her child. While the mother is covered from head to toe in a long, striped dress, we can see the child’s bare, pale legs and feet. The mother gently caresses her child’s tiny foot as it hovers over the basin. After many cholera outbreaks in the late 19th century, scientists and physicians encouraged bathing to prevent the spread of disease.
In mid-19th century France, the public was fascinated by ballerinas dancing en pointe (on their toes) and flocked to theaters. While Degas is considered an Impressionist painter, he focused on moments of life in Paris rather than landscapes. This work looks as if it could have been completed from a box seat overlooking the stage. We see the dancer all smiles as she takes in the crowd’s appreciation. She is balanced on one strong leg; her knee is slightly bent, and her pink slipper is laced up for support. Her other leg is stretched out behind her, and her toes are pointed; this is partially obscured by her tutu.
If you are interested in learning more about foot care for dancers, children, or adults, feel free to give your local podiatry office in Alexandria a call. If you don’t already have a foot & ankle care doctor, our 5-star-rated podiatrist at The Podiatry Center is available to answer your questions.
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to foot and ankle care, feel free to contact The Podiatry Center, with a convenient podiatry office location near Alexandria VA, by clicking here or by calling 301.656.6055.