Sunday, April 21, 2013
Eyes and lips of Maggie Smith
Critic: Not quite how we see her in screen roles. But an honest portrayal?
Portraitist: Lloyd did a good job. He said he struggled with the face.
Critic: As well he might. Maggie Smith has a famous gaze. Glaring, she challenges. Unblinking she devastates.
Portraitist: I think what she does with her mouth is equally important. She smiles wryly in irony, purses her lips in disapproval, and squeezes her lips shut in repressing criticism.
There are about 40 muscles in the human face. We use them to project emotions such as happiness, sadness, surprise, dislike, fear, and anger. Part of Maggie Smith’s talent lies in her control of those eye muscles and lip muscles. The difficulty for a portrait artist is to capture one expression to suggest the sitter’s whole expressive repertoire.