Monday, March 10, 2008

Gesture, form and the soul

Okay, here's a thing: what you can see when you draw is the way that people's bodies hold, in the details of their lines and shapes, something like the essence of the whole form. This whatever-it-is is partly about the person themselves, it seems to me, such that in relation to a given model it holds across the various positions that he or she may assume, but it's also particular, in the sense that you have to look for it a-new in each pose. You find it in a line here, a curve there, this shape, that bit of weight. The question is: what is that? Plus, why is it that while it is possible to create genuine, compelling portraits of inanimate objects, what such images capture is not the same thing? Finally, as a side note, don't we think that a thing that is great about Anna Karenina is that Tolstoy there does something with gesture that is similar to the thing that I'm talking about in relation to life-drawing, in the details of his characterizations?

1 comment:

JC said...

It just shows that in fact the body is an expression of the soul.

Now all you have to do is figure out what THAT means.

It reminds me of seeing people who have shaved off facial hair: the first reaction is often not "Hey! You shaved your beard!" but "Did you lose weight?" or "Have you been ill?" They see the person not the expression.