Bones Are Beautiful

Bones Are Beautiful Aesthetically And Philosophically

Bones are beautiful, for reasons that aren't necessarily obvious some ways, and completely obvious in others. Artists have poured over bones for centuries in part because they help to identify realistic musculature and form for the human figure, and also in part because they are, to paraphrase June Carter Cash, "Just so derned interestin'!!!" Two artists that immediately come to mind are Georgia O'Keefe and Jean Michelle Basqiat, you can find many works of art created by them that glorify in one way or another, skeletons and skulls.

But you don't need to be an artiste to appreciate the favorability of animals calciferous center! Everyone who's ever eaten a great slab of Southern smoked ribs will tell you, the closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat! Speaking as a self-proclaimed culinary guerilla/voodoo chef, bones lend a flavor to meat that is uncanny in it's minerality and other subtle and robust flavors.

Another reason bones are beautiful, is that they are mysterious. Bones are the infrastructure of the body after all. You can see all the tiny modifications of time that it took for those bones to arrive at the shape they are today. When you see a skeleton you can see how the rib cage protects and contains the viscera of the animals body, like some sort of mythical cage for the heart! Knee and elbows connecting the arms and legs are a miracle in and of themselves and you can quickly appreciate the strength needed by muscles and ligaments to pull those powerful appendages about. If we animals are amber spirits, if our muscles are luminous as many a Renaissance artist spent days and weeks trying to prove, then our beautiful bones must be the fly in the amber so to speak. A record of a millennia of information mostly lost to time, but still there for all to see.


Why Are Bones So Beautiful?

Here are some beautiful bones, a deer skull complete with antlers. Photo Credit: Ben Zoltak all rights reserved.
Here are some beautiful bones, a deer skull complete with antlers. Photo Credit: Ben Zoltak all rights reserved.

The Skull Is Perhaps The Most Beautiful Bone Of Them All!

This is a raccoon skull the author and his daughter saved from the Chicago river several years ago.  Photo Credit: Ben Zoltak all rights reserved Professor, contact Ben if you'd like to use his art commercially, buy him lunch.
This is a raccoon skull the author and his daughter saved from the Chicago river several years ago. Photo Credit: Ben Zoltak all rights reserved Professor, contact Ben if you'd like to use his art commercially, buy him lunch.

The Attic Of The Body Is Housed In The Skull

Why is the skull a beautiful bone? Why? Because that's where the party's at! All that thinking needs to be under serious protected supervision. From the tiny field mouse or anole, to the ten ton sperm whale or the now extinct woolly mammoth, all creatures need to check their head!

There is an anonymous quote that says it all, "We can communicate an idea around the world in 70 seconds, but it sometimes takes years for an idea to get through a 1\4 inch of the human skull."

Why is that? Maybe the skull is too strong for it's own good! Therein must lie the etymology behind the moniker "numb skull".

All humor aside, from an aesthetic point of view, the skull is wonder of form. It looks as a though it were shaped to travel aerodynamically through space and time. It's shape is curving and sinewy, as though the Great Spirit puffed a blast of smoke and procured the perfect form. The teeth stand as a picket fence of utility. The eye sockets are dark and foreboding under some light, but somehow roundly humorous in other light. The hinge of the jaw looks like a gate that was designed by an army of master engineers. While the skull cap retains it's own character of expression. Even as pure bone the skull looks as though it is living all on it's own. Creepy in a way, but a beautiful bone in another.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8331761@N07/ / CC BY 2.0Glyptodon asper  Photo credit: public domain, Musum national d'Histoire naturelle, ParisPhoto credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilu12323/ / CC BY 2.0Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70454000@N00/ / CC BY-SA 2.0Photo credit: Muzeul Grigore Antipa Picassaweb.google.com
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8331761@N07/ / CC BY 2.0
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8331761@N07/ / CC BY 2.0
Glyptodon asper  Photo credit: public domain, Musum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris
Glyptodon asper Photo credit: public domain, Musum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilu12323/ / CC BY 2.0
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilu12323/ / CC BY 2.0
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70454000@N00/ / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70454000@N00/ / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo credit: Muzeul Grigore Antipa Picassaweb.google.com
Photo credit: Muzeul Grigore Antipa Picassaweb.google.com

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Beautiful Bones In Conclusion

Bones for many people are a morbid, maybe even dark reminder of animals inevitable fate. But it is that very fate, that limited terminality, that emboldens artists to admire bones. Bones are beautiful because they are inherently strong, firm, unmoving, porous, rigid and yet still at some point, quite prone to being broken. Bones are mysterious because of this duality, and it's that ambiguity that makes bones beautiful.

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Comments 30 comments

TattoGuy 6 years ago

Well being a lover of pirates I love the skull & crossbones, a really original and thought provoking hub my friend which I enjoyed, nice one !


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Would've never pegged you for being a pirate guy TattoGuy, ha! Thank you for the kind words about my hub and for stopping by!


fiksy02 profile image

fiksy02 6 years ago from London

well anything of nature is a wonder to moi and bones are not left out. don't you just love the way the structure of the bone talks about the part of the body they come from. the spinal cord holds the body up the rib cage protect the heart thought it can't protect it from heartbreaks.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

Bones do have a beauty to them. Thanks for the creative hub.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi Ben,

When I go to national places like museum etc, I am engrossed by the beuaty of it but when you talked about food in the Sotthern part here, it give sme a little bit something to think about too, haha

thank you Ben for haring this and for reading my hub too, Maita


Lifes Joke profile image

Lifes Joke 6 years ago

hey i like the words you use...i can clearly see the images...on a side note i so want a skull tatoo and i have no clue why other than i think skulls are cool..


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Ben - thank you. Certain people don't like the skulls and antlers that decorate the walls. They think they clash with the Bohemian look. Well, I think bones are beautiful too. Of course, I also love rocks. Bones and rocks are real go-togethers. You are such a wonderful writer.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

fiksy02

SweetiePie

Maita

Lifes Joke

and Dolores!

Thank you all for the kind words, you made me laugh and cry this morning. You've all given me some more food for thought. Dolores you're melting my heart. If my daughter had her way, our house would be full of rocks too.

Thank you all for your kind words, you've all really made my day!


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 6 years ago from NW Indiana

I have been collecting bones and skulls for years. I love bones and you have pointed out all the reasons why in this hub. Thumbs up to beautiful bones..


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 6 years ago from NW Indiana

rocks and bones, I am crazy about both. really enjoyed your hub.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

C.S. thank you for the kind words about my writing. Sometimes such a thing as bones might seem strange but, I enjoy a little bit of weirdness now and again. Other times bones are very serious, as in forensics cases or delicate paintings of them or art made of them, I think it's because of those different reasons that I find them fascinating!

Thanks for chiming in!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

Bones are indeed beautiful; bones also represent a story and often a mystery. Whenever I see part of a skeleton of any type of creature, I can't help but wonder a bit about its life circumstances. How did it die, only to be found by human beings? What type of life did it lead? It sounds goofy to look at the bones of a steer and wonder what kind of life it led, I know, but there is something compelling in a skeleton--even if it is an "ordinary" animal.

I saw the skeleton of a small snake the other day--that is really something to see.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thanks for the addition Mike. I've thought of that in the past, don't know why I didn't write about the creatures story, as you put it, in the article. Funny, of all the skeletons I've seen, I don't believe I've ever seen a snake's except in photos.

For some reason you just jarred my memory that when I was in college I went with a few friends to an abandon building, when we got to an old dusty bedroom inside was a brass birdcage with a bird skeleton in it! I remember our female companion declaring, "I guess we no know why the caged bird doesn't sing!" LOL.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Interesting topic. You definitely think "outside the box," my friend. I used to collect antlers that were naturally shed by deer.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

I've had the opportunity to collect a few deer antlers in my day too Habee!!!

Thanks for stopping by and for the creative compliment, I do try!


AnythingArtzy profile image

AnythingArtzy 6 years ago from OHIO

Really nice article. I myself think bones are very artistic. They are so simple and basic but then very complex at the same time.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thanks AnythingArtzy, I agree with you about bones' duality. Thanks for stopping in!


BeccaHubbardWoods profile image

BeccaHubbardWoods 6 years ago from Outside your window...

I think bones are beautiful for different reasons than you've listed here, but it's all the same. ; ) I love reading your hubs, they're full of humor and so well thought out. As always, great job Ben! : )


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Becca thank you so much for the kind compliment. I wish you'd share what your reasons are, but maybe you want to write your own hub about it! So I won't pester you for them. Thanks again for the kudos!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Ben,

"Speaking as a self-proclaimed culinary guerilla/voodoo chef"...your words, not mine. Hahaha! Can I come for dinner? I love chewing on bones! This was a fun hub to read. The Georgia O'Keefe paintings immediately sprung to mind.

Still pondering your request about my childhood. Think that I'll keep inserting tidbits into various hubs of different topics. Hope that is OK?


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thanks Peggy, I also like chewing on bones. My ex didn't like it, one more reason to keep on enjoying it!

I will keep up with your Wisconsin childhood tidbits, sounds good. I just find that some people have some good stories about growing up here. I have few of my own.


bat115 profile image

bat115 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

that guy on the bike really likes to work out.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Tell me about it, he needs a sandwich.


wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K.

Great hub, beautiful pictures and so true. I think our interest in bones also comes from our questions with death and are own mortality.


al 6 years ago

anorexic girls are the prettiest girls in the world


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

I disagree, I'm more a Rubenesque guy, but to each his own Al.


WhisperingDwarf profile image

WhisperingDwarf 5 years ago

Love the Photography, really cool skulls.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Thank you WhisperingDwarf, kind of you to say so. I still enjoy the aesthetic curves of calciferous structures!

Cheers,

Ben


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

Cool photos ! It's not scary any more, but beautiful ! I like especially the deer skull.


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA Author

Ingenira I read your comment to my daughter yesterday and we both got a big smile, merci! Bones contain something mysterious and beautiful,like physics manifest through nature and art.

Ben

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