Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Looking at sculpture, you will begin to notice that
artists approach the eyes quite differently from one piece
to the next. When you are sculpting yourself, it can be hard to
decide how to handle the modeling of the eyes.
Given the fact that, as sculptors, we don't have color to rely on;
light and shadow are all we have to explain form.
So painting on the pupils doesn't work from a sculptural
point of view. How do we then explain the eye ball, the pupil, and the iris?
If you'll look at Rodin, he tended to dig out the eyes completely,
relying on the strong shadow that the hollow eyes would give
to the face. For that reason, his faces have a real sense of
mystery and intensity.Bernini and Michelangelo would model
the sphere of the ball and many times leave out the pupil
for that far away look.
I believe it was either Bernini or Houdon who would
talk about sculpting for the highlights.
To that effect I have known of sculptors who would model
the eye ball, dig out where the iris is and the put in a nail
where they want the highlight to fall
so that light would hit that nail head and look like a highlight.
One must think about the psychology of the head and what attitude
they are giving the sculpture in order to model the eyes
appropriately. Also, if you are sculpting a likeness of someone,
whether they have dark eyes or light eyes will make a difference
in how you handle the modeling. I've put together a compilation
of sculpted heads to give you some ideas on how to handle them and
to also show that there is no one way to properly model the eyes.
Go here to see a variety of sculpted eyes.