Regular posts about my painting practice present and past.

Category: Morelli

The Ears have It

| 21 November, 2011 13:48

Giovanni Morelli is the 19th c. Italian art critic who refined connoisseurship by pointing out that experts could more readily identify an artist's technical characteristics in the unimportant parts of a painting. The ears in a portrait for instance. Because they are secondary to a picture's total effect, they are more likely to betray an artist's idiosynchratic touches.

 

 

pencil drawing study of ears

This is my drawing of ears today. The model had fantastic ears and no hair so I decided to focus on them.

Morelli's insight was profound. The ear is one of the most complex shapes on the human body, yet in itself it is in no way indiciative of an individual. So there is no reason for a master to lavsih time on this elaborate but meaningless configuration.

So in general every painter who paints the ears fails to represent them with the same concentration he or she applies to the eyes or mouth. They become a kind of shorthand scrawl.  And legally, a scrawl is as good as a signature.