How’s your Ogee (ö’jë)?
Ogee is the line of beauty first described by English artists during the period of the Restoration*. It is often described as a double serpentine or an S-shaped line and its importance in aesthetics was first described by William Hogarth (1697-1764) the famed 18th century English painter and engraver.
Hogarth believed that the double-S shape curve was an important compositional feature of painting. That is to say, shapes and figures must incorporate the double-S shape in some part. This idea on the principles of aesthetics was formalized in his treatise, The Analysis of Beauty (1753). The Line of Beauty represented a departure from Baroque and Renaissance artists who preferred bold lines as compositional elements in their paintings.
So why does your Plastic Surgeon care about your ogee? Since our specialty pioneered the application of Aesthetics (What Can Be) in medicine, it was only natural that we would borrow from other fields of study concerned with aesthetics such as architecture, painting, and sculpture.
In evaluating and formalizing the best way to produce beautiful results, we have come to recognize the importance of Hogarth’s Line of Beauty. For example, when we seek to rejuvenate the face, we use HA fillers or implants to augment the cheek in order to emphasize the double-S that is visible in the three-quarter facial profile. When augmenting the lips, the upper border of the lip is a version of the double-S commonly referred to as the Cupid’s bow.
The Line of Beauty has a starring role in body contouring as well. When shaping the thigh using liposuction, we are very deliberate in planning to create a line of beauty extending from the upper medial thigh to the knee. This results in the idealized shape of the thigh. When shaping the calf with liposuction and fat grafts, we contemplate a double-S with a lazy taper towards the ankle.
In yet another example of the line of beauty, a properly performed tummy tuck should reveal a line of beauty in profile. This highly desired shape is again referred to as a Cupid’s bow but it actually incorporates the Line of Beauty.
The deliberate and thoughtful application of concepts such as the Line of Beauty makes the idea of beauty possible regardless of age. Even though many aesthetic values that are present in youth gradually diminish over time, I have always believed that it is an incorrect exercise to simply try to make one look younger. By restoring the Line of Beauty and other established concepts, we can improve aesthetics without necessarily chasing youth. You are and can be beautiful at any age.
If you’d like to get your ogee on, come see us at the Reddy Aesthetic Institute where the Science of Beauty is always in residence.
*The Restoration refers to the period in English history when the monarchy was restored (1660-1700). It followed the the Elizabethan Period and the Interregnum (Protectorate). It is associated with a distinct literary and artistic movement in England.
Dr. Reddy is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. In his ongoing journey to deliver Excellence in Aesthetics, Dr. Reddy has visited and studied with some of the foremost authorities in Aesthetic Surgery. During his training at McGill University, Dr. Reddy was fortunate to study under the famed Dr. Arthur Swift.
P. Pravin Reddy, MD is a Board Certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.