Sunday, 18 April 2010

Symbolism in Painting

Symbolism in Painting Baxandall (Painting and Experience in 15th C Italy) talks about some but says there are loads of different things and some dependent on context so pretty hard to read!
How much white can be seen in the eye
  • "people with long eyes are malicious and immoral"
  • If the white of the eye is widely extended and visible all round shows shamelessness
  • if it is concealed not visible at all, shows unreliabilty (Page 58)
Leonardo about face lines and marks - "Lines of face show if a man is cheerful  and often laughs.  men without these lines are thoughtful.  Deep lines are fierce and irascible and unreasonable.  Horizontal lines on forehead show full of sorrow."

Hand movements
  • AFFIRMATION - lift hand gently, back of hand faces the beholder
  • DEMONSTRATION - thing that has been seen noted by opening palm in its direction
  • GRIEF - pressing breast with palm
  • SHAME - covering eyes with fingers
  • INVITATION/WELCOME - hand up, palm forward, fingers slightly bent down
  • CHASTE WOMAN - hands clasped together at girdle height
  • WANTON WOMAN - hands all over the place - poss double invitation!
Use of less important character looking out straight at viewer or slightly above - draws you in and makes you engage in what is going on

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