Neuroscience: The aesthetic brain

Stephanie Pilick/DPA/Corbis Portraying Nefertiti as a beauty may have been used as a way to depict the queen’s moral qualities. In the Neues Museum in Berlin, Queen Nefertiti’s head perches, almost weightlessly, on a swan-like neck. The painted stucco and limestone bust is 3,300 years old, but its plump red lips, high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes look as if they come straight out of a fashion magazine. Indeed, in the 103 years since German archaeologists unearthed the bust, it has achieved an iconic status that supermodels can only dream of. Although a vast chasm of history and culture separates the modern world from ancient Egypt, our continuing admiration of this portrayal lends credence to the idea that some beauty is timeless. Science has also confirmed the adage, at least to…

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