Eye of the Beholder

If you believe old horror movies, paintings have eyes that follow you around. That illusion is a tribute to the artists who can make flat, two-dimensional paintings seem real. For centuries, eyes have had a prominent role in art. Artists know that people feel they can read somebody by looking into their eyes. As a result, eyes are the central focus of many portraits.

In 1998, a curious researcher noticed that eyes tend to be the center of attention in portraits. To prove his hunch, he drew a line down the middle of famous paintings done by 265 artists over six centuries. In two-thirds of the paintings, an eye was at or very near the center. However, I don’t believe placing an eye in the center of a painting has ever been taught in art books or art schools. Artists seem to have done it naturally

*Kids Discover Vol. 23, issue 6, June 2013.


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