Details Don't Mean A Thing If They Ain't Got That Swing


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Mini-Tutorial: Details Don't Mean A Thing If They Ain't Got That Swing

by Michael Newberry

NOTE FROM MSK: The actual tutorial has been removed at the request of Michael Newberry. The link to the tutorial on his site remains in the title above. I highly recommend you go there and go through it. Here is a small quote from it:

Artists often agonize over the completion of a painting. The bugaboo for many realists is the detailing. Details are the crowning touches and yet, more often then not, they can rob the painting of its vitality.

There are many great artists that manage to solve the "detail" problem. Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is brimming with life and her famous smile is one of the most detailed details of any painting. I have viewed her close up and have seen how da Vinci has broken down the form of her lips into hundreds of tiny planes.

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*****

The writer states: "Stepping back and looking at the Mona Lisa as a whole, you can see that her head "sits" in the middle foreground, while her chest and hands rotate towards us, 'locking into' the foreground."

As a matter of being accurate in regards to perspective, it is only natural that the Mona Lisa’s hands would be in the foreground in relationship to her face—however--it is Mona Lisa’s face that Da Vinci wanted to empathize. This is why the hands are more submerged in shadow and the face is aluminous by contrast.

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Edited by Victor Pross
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In 1919, Marcel Duchamp (Modernist and urinal displayer) painted a mustache and goatee on a postcard to mock the painting. The old world of art was on its way to being attacked with such a force, as if fighting Satan himself. To my mind, Marcel's “Mona Lisa” defaces that which has been prized, and brings a famous work down to the level of crude vandalism—not a work of art in its own regard.

Would you consider this an act of nihilism?

Edited by Victor Pross
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