Since the dawn of time, man has always been fascinated by beauty. It can be the cause of his greatest joy or of his greatest failure, as in the case of Adam and Eve during creation. Poets and singers have sang paeans about man's fascination with beauty and even the ancient civilizations commemorated beautiful things, not unlike the regular beauty contests that bring together the most beautiful women in the world at least once a year.
Beauty is a universal concept that is hard to define but is understood by all. For instance, we may struggle to explain ourselves when ask what is beautiful to us. But if we are asked to point out a beautiful woman in a group, men do it easily and naturally. As the saying goes, when it comes to great beauty, we know it when we see it.
In ancient times, people were so enamored with the concept of beauty that they actually deified beauty by identifying and worshiping female goddesses.
Aphrodite is goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology. Her legend says that she was born of the sea foam ("foam-arisen") after a monumental crash between the titan Cronus and the god Uranus. According to writings, Cronus cut off the genitals of Uranus and cast these into the sea, "and white foam areose from immortal flesh; with it a girl larger."
Freya is the goddess of fertility as well as of love, sex, war, beauty, prophecies and attraction in Norse mythology. Like the modern-day woman, Freya was crazy about jewelry. She named her daughter "Hnoss," meaning "jewel".
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, light, wisdom and fortune, as well as (secondarily) luck, beauty and fertility in Hindu mythology. She is the goddess who conforms the least to our conventional view of beauty. Lakshmi is often portrayed as a fair lady with four arms who sat on a lotus and planned a benign countenance.
Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is the most famous of all the goddesses of beauty. When painting and sculpture dominated the Renaissance period of Europe, Venus was a very popular subject among artists, who often depicted her in a state of nudity.