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David WilkieThe People's Painter$
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Nicholas Tromans

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625208

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625208.001.0001

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The Anatomy of Expression

The Anatomy of Expression

(p.61) 2 The Anatomy of Expression
David Wilkie

Nicholas Tromans

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter is concerned with David Wilkie's representation of the human body, face and mind, and also addresses the expressions in Wilkie's pictures, which were often considered the bedrock of his realism. For Wilkie, the role of vision in social life was what was at stake, and this led him to more sophisticated interpretations of the mind–body problem than conventional art theory allowed. It is noted that, as a very young artist in Edinburgh, Wilkie had explored what expression might be, painting contorted faces which did not necessarily express any sustained passion, and basing a key work on the blush, the quintessential non-muscular facial expression. The chapter then explores some of the common features of Village Holiday, Wardrobe Ransacked, Blind-Man's Buff, Rabbit on the Wall: a candle-light amusement and the Penny Wedding.

Keywords:   David Wilkie, human body, face, mind, Village Holiday, Wardrobe Ransacked, Blind-Man's Buff, Rabbit on Wall, Penny Wedding, social life

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