Saturday, May 09, 2009

Just One More Thing...



I can't help but also notice one more thing about this painting...

Almost all anatomy books point out that usually men have wider shoulders and slimmer hips, and that women typically have narrower shoulders and bigger hips.

While this is generally true, and can be a big help in drawing the differences between the two genders, the girl in this Hurst painting has rather wide shoulders and rather narrow hips (seems to me that Hurst's figures are usually pretty tall and thin, with slim hips - it's part of his style) and yet she comes off as very feminine and there's never any doubt as to her gender at first glance.

So it just goes to show that you can break rules and still get the desired effect. Her pose, particularly, is uniquely feminine - try to picture a man standing that way and it wouldn't look quite right.

Also her clothes - particularly the ruffled skirt - is distinctly feminine and helps give her that quality. Also the bathing suit peeking out from under the skirt is pretty distinctively feminine.

Okay, seriously, moving on.....

6 comments:

Matthew Long said...

Really appreciate your previous post, breaking this down to why it's so appealing. The tiny waist and the bell shaped skirt create an hourglass shape with the shoulders and that helps sell the femininity as well in my opinion.

Andy J. Latham said...

Have you ever noticed how these days a lot of men are attracted to women with masculine boyish qualities (eg Keira Knightly) and many women are attracted to men with rather feminine qualities (eg Johnny Depp)?

I wonder if this trend has any influence on how each gender is portrayed in art....

B! said...

great analysis.. the image becomes infinitely more interested when you realize how there's so much thought put into it.

John Musker said...

While I agree the 40s look can favor wide shoulders and slim hips there's a simple reason why this drawing is proportioned this way. The shoulders and back are flat to camera, thus seen at their widest while the hips are seen obliquely because of the twist in the pose and thus graphically "slimmer." I think Hurst chose the twist seen from this angle to enjoy the beauty of the back and the minimization of the hips. I suspect it was intuitive and an attempt to find a new pose for someone who drew pretty girls often, well, and seemingly effortlessly. Bottom line Hurst has a great eye for pleasing shapes and their contrasts.

mark kennedy said...

John- I talked about the twists in the previous post about this painting and I agree that he was featuring the back as a design element. But I also think there's a lot of truth to what I pointed out - twists notwithstanding, Hurst's females always have wide shoulders and slim hips and yet succeed in feeling very feminine. In looking through web archives of Hurst scans as well as "The Art of Earl Oliver Hurst" I didn't find one painting where the hips were wider than the shoulders in any of his female forms. The twist may be confusing the issue in this particular illustration but I contend that Hurst made a conscious choice to draw his females that way and that he did it persistently, and that his women are very feminine even without the typically wide hips that most anatomy books will tell you looks more feminine than thinner hips.

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