GETTING A LIKENESS, PART TWO

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GETTING A LIKENESS, PART TWO

FIRST, LOOK FOR THE BIG SHAPE OF THE HEAD. IS IT SQUARE LIKE (A) TRIANGULAR (B) OR ROUND (C)? DOES THE SHAPE HAVE GREATER OR LESSER WIDTH AT THE TOP, BOTTOM OR MIDDLE? ITíS NEVER ABSOLUTELY SYMMETRICAL.

ONCE THE BIG SHAPE IS OBSERVED, LOOK FOR THE MAJOR SHAPES OF THE INSIDE PLANES.  FOR INSTANCE, THE OUTSIDE SHAPE OF A HEAD MIGHT LOOK ROUND AND BULKY (D), WITH AN OBLIQUE ASYMMETRICAL ORIENTATION (E).  MEANWHILE, THE INNER FRONTAL PLANE MIGHT LOOK TRIANGULAR, AND THE FOREHEAD PLANE MIGHT APPEAR SQUARE LIKE.

LOOK FOR THE "FACIAL ANGLE," RUNNING FROM THE BASE OF THE NASAL CAVITY ACROSS THE TOP OF THE MAXILLA (1). COMPARE THIS ANGLE TO THE SLOPE OF THE LOWER DENTAL ARCH AND CHIN (2), AND COMPARE IT TO THE ANGLE RUNNING ATOP THE FOREHEAD AND NOSE (3).

FINALLY, YOU CAN ATTEND TO THE FEATURES, ONCE YOUíVE ESTABLISHED THEIR RELATIVE POSITIONS ON THE FACE (SEE PREVIOUS HANDOUT). AS LEONARDO EXPLAINS IN HIS NOTEBOOKS, FEATURES CAN BE CATEGORIZED INTO A SERIES OF MAJOR TYPES: THOSE THAT LIE FLAT ALONG A BASE LINE (F), THOSE THAT RISE (G) AND THOSE THAT FALL FROM THE BASE LINE (H). FORMS CAN BE FULLER TOWARDS THE TOP, FULLER TOWARDS THE CENTER OR FULLER TOWARDS THE BOTTOM.

FOR INSTANCE, THE NOSTRILS MIGHT RISE OUTWARD AND HIGH, WHILE THE BALL OF THE NOSE MIGHT WEIGH HEAVILY TOWARDS THE BOTTOM (I). ANOTHER NOSE (J) MIGHT REVERSE THESE RELATIONSHIPS.

THE VARIATIONS ARE MANY, ALL BASED UPON RELATIVE HEIGHTS, BULKS AND SHARPNESS. LEONARDO URGED HIS STUDENTS TO CATALOGUE AND MEMORIZE THESE FEATURE VARIATIONS, SO THAT ONE COULD EASILY AND CONFIDENTLY RECONSTRUCT A LIKENESS FROM LIFE OR MEMORY. (K)

 

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The above information is excerpted from the class handouts that I give to the students in my Painting and Drawing Classes.


Gheno teaches at two schools:
The Art Students League of New York, 215 W 57th St, New York, NY, 10019
And at: The National Academy of Design, School of Fine Arts, 5 E. 89th St., New York, NY, 10128

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LAST UPDATE: 11/11/99


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