Character vs. features
Matisse’s face drawings (self-portraits) in chapter 3.11.
Matisse draws himself four times, and each drawing has remarkably different features, and yet it is still possible to clearly see that all are characteristically drawings of him.
Character is something deeper than features: it is an inner thing which exists over and above the features, and is not even dependent on these features.
Local features cannot capture character. The whole structure can.
This “character” is the wholeness. It is the overall vector, the overall qualitative structure, the overall field effect of the face. It is a global pattern-like aspect of the face which is the same in all four pictures.
This seems to confirm that the details, and the accuracy of details, is not that important, as long as the overarching structure has the shape that keeps it whole. -> Life and imperfection
You cannot get the portrait of a person right unless you can see this underlying wholeness, this underlying inner character. […] If you want to draw a person, you have to draw the wholeness. Nothing else will get the likeness.
In portraiture, as in architecture, it is the wholeness which is the real thing that lies beneath the surface, and determines everything.
#book/The Nature of Order/1 The Phenomenon of Life/3 Wholeness and the theory of centers#
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