"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, March 1, 2010

La Gioconda and Meryl Davis

Some people like cute faces: round, soft, babyish faces with little button noses. Some like pretty faces, that look fresh and healthy and untouched (even if it takes them a ton of work to look natural!) with shiny rosy complexions. Some, perhaps all, like beautiful faces, which have perfect symmetry and proportion. Me, I like a face that's interesting, that makes you want to look at it for a while.

Leonardo daVinci in his notebooks had hundreds of rules for proportions in portraits, some of which seem a bit much, but he obviously was a master of the art. His Mona Lisa (la Gioconda) has a face that people haven't grown tired of in 500 years. People stare at it, transfixed by the question of what her expression says. The answer (to me) is apparent if one looks only at the top half of the portrait and then only at the bottom; she's smiling with her eyes, but not smiling with her mouth and one can't look at both the eyes and mouth at the same time; also, she has no eyebrows, which makes it even more difficult to see the dichotomy of expression.

While watching the Olympics, I couldn't stop looking at ice dancer Meryl Davis. Like many others, I found myself thinking she was attractive, but that there was something, well, wrong with her face. First, her face appears too long; but if one uses DaVinci's rules, it isn't. Then her eyes are small and appear to be too far apart; they almost are, but aren't. Could it just be the garish makeup? She has a long nose, but it's straight (for the most part) and it doesn't extend too close to her lips (and I prefer noses that aren't retrousse; who wants to look into someone's nostrils?) From the profile, her face seems too flat, due to high cheekbones (not underscored as in skinny women) being high not just on the sides but front of the face (which has been shown to be preferred in asian cultures, but not in others). The line of her lower jaw and nose from the profile look sharp but not severe.

Some say she looks alien, artificial, doll-like. Disney princess comes to mind. So, what's wrong with her face? Nothing, except it's paired with that voice.


Psyche said...

And the people said, "Lawd, have mercy!"

Hey! Are you EVER going to reveal your personal method of marathon training...? People are waiting, mister!

SteveQ said...

Sorry Psyche, it may be a while. Basically: train to do better what you already can do, rather than guess at what you might do in the future.