The Anatomy of Expression

Nicholas Tromans

in David Wilkie

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625208
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651313 | DOI:
The Anatomy of Expression

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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

Chapter.  21449 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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