Research point – The face

Look at contemporary as well as historic artists who work on the face in different ways.

Renaissance has brought a revolution in the artist area. So during this period there produced many artists who used the sciences to make art more advanced. They used a Realism approach to depict peoples faces. 

Leonardo da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519)

The Mona Lisa is a prestigious portrait masterpiece that most of the people know. The lady Mona Lisa was sitting elegantly with a subtle smile.

This article is 500 years ago, the original paintings were colorful and lively. For protecting it, the surface is coated with too much varnish. After hundreds of years, the light oil has turned dark brown, like the color we see now. As the light and dark tones on the Mona Lisa’s face, the dark shadows are looming, putting a veil on her eyes and lips. Then her smile is mainly embodied in the eye and mouth. Leonardo Da Vinci, who take these parts painted together, there is no clear boundary, so just can have an elusive “mysterious smile”.

Francisco Goya (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828)

Goya is one of the great portraitists of modern times. He is often referred to as both the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns. Goya’s strange and changeable style, from the early baroque style to the later works of similar expressionism, he has always changed his life, although he never established his own establishment, he has a great influence on the realist painting, the romantic painting and the impressionism of the later generations.

This image depicts a young milkmaid with a scarf holding back her hair and a shawl on her shoulders. From this angle, the bottom-to-top perspective shows the light from behind her(a bit right). So down the shawl and under the scarf are dark areas. Goya used many black paintings and the darker color schemes brought the out the more tragic scene.


Graham Little

Untitled (Reflections), 2014 Gouache on paper

I admire Little’s style on his work. Especially the work of Reflections which is a woman looking into the mirror and her whole face and a hand have been reflected on one side of the mirror and another angle of the side face and a hand reflected on another mirror. This image involved a complex repeat and angle perspective relative but it is an exquisite layout. You can see 3 versions of her face 2 of which are in the mirror.

It has very simple colours and solaces around this woman with pajamas. She may be on the phone and that may explain some expression on her face. This work also includes narrative and portrait elements.

Elizabeth Joy Peyton

Look at the more fluid blocking in the tone from Peyton’s work.

Her strokes are really fascinating. In this image, she used foreshortening effect on the leg which is wearing blue trousers. It seems she only used a couple of letters “V” with fluid colours for the trousers. Then purple colour to draw the outlines of the shirt but these lines are consecutive and sequential and not any surplus on there. She describes a serious countenance on this man’s face shown by the marks around his eyes.

Another work of Peyton’s.

For the next exercise, I am going to do my own head. What will these works inspire me? I really like how she drew the hair in the work of Chloe. In this simple work, the light hits on her hair and the shadows on her face. She has a pair of gazing eyes. One line is used to depict the collar. I am probably charmed by the image of colours in this work and the expression of her eyes.

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