"Russian women in paintings by Russian painters".
Russian Folk Song
"Ah, my sweetheart, thou art a beautiful maiden..."
Performed by the great Russian tenor
that the Russian ideal of beauty was
fluid in movement "as though sailing" or "like a swan" -
a woman was supposed to hold her head up proudly but cast her eyes down modestly -
unless she was a noblewoman.
Thinness and pallor were signs of illness, mean behavior, bad habits or depravity.
The similarity between blednost (pallor) and bliadstvo (harlotry) was noted in ecclesiastical texts.
So, in contrast, Russian women wished to have
bright red cheeks "like the color of poppies",
white skin "like white snow",
clear lustrous eyes "like a falcon",
and black eyebrows "like a sable's tail".
A woman's inner dignity and emotional restraint were emphasized without restricting freedom of movement.
Depictions of period women showed them to be stately and filled with inner tranquility and confidence.