Visualising obesity and the body

Obesity can be represented in various ways. How do different artists visualise the body? How is what is medically defined as the ‘obese body’ represented in different forums? Is obesity portrayed in a positive or negative light? Do these representations communicate the attitude of the artist towards obesity in themselves or in society?

Rosalind Woodhouse’s article ‘Obesity in Art – A Brief Overview’ (Front Horm Res 2008, 36: 271-86) offers an overview of the way in which fatness has been represented in Western art and what this can tell us about how the meanings ascribed to fat have changed over the years.

This image bank seeks to present and contrast some different approaches to visualising fatness and obesity and the objects that surround them, focusing especially on contemporary art. Full-sized images and more works from the artists featured can be found on their websites via the links provided.

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