Research 6

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Comparison of Francesco Melzi's portrait "Leonardo da Vinci" and a profile bust "Leonardo da Vinci" created by Leonardo da Vinci

Research № 6. Comparison of Francesco Melzi's portrait "Leonardo da Vinci" and a profile bust "Leonardo da Vinci" created by Leonardo da Vinci.

   In this research elements of a person's appearance displayed in the profile of the face were studied. In the images provided below the forehead, the nose, the nasal bridge and lips act as the main elements of appearance. These features can be compared from this angle using the methods of visual comparison. The images were brought to the identical size of the faces and discoloured.




Franchesko Meltsi Portreit Leonardo da Vinchi Marble bust of Leonardo da Vinci  Sculptor Leonardo da Vinchi

   Using the method of mathematical comparison of such measurements as a nose height, nose tip protrusion, depth of the nasal bridge, height of the nasal bridge, nasal arch protrusion given the identical distance between the external corner of the eye and the nasal bridge as well as between the centre of the pupil and the nasal bridge, it was revealed that the size of the elements of appearance of the bust is bigger, than those of the painting. The measurements are not absolute as it is impossible to measure the distance with an accuracy of up to 0,5 mm because of the peculiarities of depicting the person's appearance in this case. However, it should be taken into account that these images aren't identical as far as their dimensional characteristics are concerned.

Франческо Мельци Портрет Леонардо да Винчи Профиль бюста Леонардо да Винчи


   By visually comparing the people's elements of appearance the following matching signs were revealed:

Mark 1 – average lip protrusion, position of the lower lip (protruderant).

Mark 2 – prominence of the nasolabial fold (average),

Mark 3 – small nose protrusion, average nose height, average height of the nose wings, hardly noticeable folds of the nose wings,

Mark 4 – prominence of the cheekbones (average),

Mark 5 – wavy contour of the nasal arch, presence of a hump, horizontal position of the nasal base, rounded shape of the nose tip,

Mark 6 – depth of the nasal bridge (average),

Mark 7 – insignificant lowering of the eyebrow tails,

Mark 8 – shape of the forehead (curved), the forehead slopes backwards, there is a dimple on the forehead.

Франческо Мельци Портрет Леонардо да Винчи Профиль бюста Леонардо да Винчи


The following distinctions are noted:

Mark 9 - in position of the nose wings (in the painting – average, on the bust – raised) 

Mark 10 - in the features of the hair (density, type, hairline, length).

The latter is explained by the people's different age, signs of aging of the person depicted in the painting.

Франческо Мельци Портрет Леонардо да Винчи Профиль бюста Леонардо да Винчи


   When the images are consecutively superimposed along the nose line, a distinction is observed in the lip and eye positions. On the bust the corners of the lips are higher, they are more raised, than in the painting (1 – the position of the corners of the lips in the painting, 2 - on the bust) which can be explained by a portrayal of an emotion, namely a smile on the sculpture. The eye in the image of the bust is higher than in the painting, however, the mismatch of proportions of the appearance elements of the studied objects was already mentioned above. At the same time, the same features of the profiles are observed in the  nose, forehead, chin and lip areas.

6И7 Профиль бюста Леонардо да Винчи
6И8 Профиль бюста Леонардо да Винчи



   When the profile of the sculpture is superimposed onto the painting and when the two are adjusted, the faces coincide in the contours of the forehead, nose and the lip position (except for the position of the corners of the lips), whereas the eye position differs. However, visually the profiles are perceived as the same face. 

   In spite of the peculiarity of depicting the faces, namely a sculpture made of stone and a painting neither of which are accurate representations of a person's appearance, the revealed matching signs of appearance are steady, unique and allow us to discover common appearance features intrinsic to one face. They are sufficient for drawing a conclusion that the images studies are of one and the same person.