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Eye and lips in artistic profiles

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Distortions related to eye and lip morphometry were investigated in two studies comparing photographic versus artistic profiles. In the first study, 298 artistic profiles encompassing the whole art history were compared to 300 photographic profiles. The 2 groups were compared for shape with Procrustes analysis and for size by using 8 indexes. Estimated age was inserted as covariate. The results showed that artists exaggerated eye height and width, pupil width, lip height, and width. The triangular shape of the eye view from side perspective was modified toward a more ellipsoidal shape, depicting the eye from a three-quarter and more frontal perspective. In Study 2, 13 students from the College of the Arts–School of Art were requested to draw a profile portrait of a male or female model. The eye and lip morphometric indexes of the model were compared with those extrapolated from the drawings. The results confirmed an exaggeration of eye width and height, lip width, and pupil width in artistic profiles. Additionally, the eyes shape was “frontalized.” The exaggeration of eye and lip size and the distortion in shape are interpreted and discussed according to the theory linking supernormal stimuli to aesthetic perception. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

    Research areas

  • art, eyes, face, portraits, profiles

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