Were Madonna's Muscles Too Masculine For The Cover Of 'Vanity Fair'?

Have the airbrushing elves at Vanity Fair gotten a little too nip-and-tucky in their April cover story on Madonna? As those nitpicky Fleet Street Brits over at The Daily Mail suggest, photos from inside the mag that show the nearly 50 year-old legend contorting herself into all sorts of quasi-sexy poses to prove her flexibility, barely resemble actual pictures taken of Madonna in real life. Madge was happy to show off her massive muscles at this year's Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and she rarely attempts to cover up when snapped venturing in and out of the gym, so why would the art directors at VF feel the need to smudge away each and every sign of her taut muscles? A mag spokesman claims they simply did "just a little work on skin tones and blemishes," but we decided to compare the real Madonna to the magically morphed piece of art seen in this month's issue after the jump:

As we can see from the very forgiving spread in VF, Madonna's arms are noticeably thin, with no evidence of that chiseled look we've grown fond of seeing every time she's shot either on stage or out on the street in those trademark breakaway pants. And those barely-there thighs look more Olsen-y than womanly:

Were Madonna's Muscles Too Masculine For The Cover Of 'Vanity Fair'?

Compared with more recent pictures of Madonna both ostentatiously showing off her tough physique while performing and leaving her second home, the gym, it's almost as though we're seeing two different women:

Were Madonna's Muscles Too Masculine For The Cover Of 'Vanity Fair'?

We're left wondering if visible biceps and healthy hamstrings are simply not en vogue enough for the likes of Vanity Fair or if Madonna herself instructed the airbrushettes in question to make her look more sleek. As her 50th birthday approaches, maybe she's simply entered that state of mind where life-size portraits of yourself hanging on the walls of your many mansions are far more pleasing to the eye when "touched up" a bit?

[Photo Credits: Daily Mail, Vanity Fair, Reading Eagle]