Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." This lovely adage is actually backed up by science: in 2010, a study found that smiling even when you down have mood-improving benefits. With all the benefits of smiling, it's no surprise how common open mouth smiles are today. However, for much of history, closed mouth smiles or no smiles at all were common in portraits.
Famous Smiles in Art
The Mona Lisa by Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is undoubtedly the most famous smile in art. This portrait depicts noblewoman Lisa Gherardini giving an enigmatic half smile to the viewer. Her sidelong glance and softly upturned lips can be interpreted a number of different ways and continue to spark conversations today. Her closed mouth smile contributes to the air of mystery.
In the past, straight-faced portraits were intended to convey the importance or seriousness of the subject. Consider the U.S. presidential portraits over time. George Washington is often mentioned for his tight-lipped mouth, perhaps due to his uncomfortable dentures. Harry Truman, the 33rd president, was the first to show the hint of a smile in his portrait. However, it was not until Ronald Reagan that a presidential portrait had the first true grin with teeth.
Famous Smiles in the Movies
Today, a flawless smile is highly valued. For actors and actresses, perfect teeth are an important part of their career. "Top Gun" and "Mission Impossible" actor Tom Cruise is well known for his bright smile and piercing eyes. However, early images of Tom show crooked and discolored teeth, which were straightened and whitened before his career took off. Often mentioned for her ageless look, Demi Moore is another celebrity who has had cosmetic dentistry. Many photos of her in early roles show her original teeth, which were slightly crooked and discolored. Today, she has a beautiful smile thanks to veneers.
Learn More About the Art of the Smile
As writer William Arthur Ward put it, "A warm smile is the universal language of kindness." A smile is a gift for both the wearer and the rest of the world. At Rush Creek Dentistry, we want you to smile with confidence, contact us to learn more about our cosmetic dentistry options.