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Preference in Portrait Painting

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What is the lecture mainly about?
  • A. Techniques for creating lifelike portraits

  • B. Theories about a preference in portrait painting

  • C. Reasons for a decline in the popularity of portrait painting

  • D. Ways researchers determine whether a painting is authentic

显示答案 正确答案: B

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in an art history class.

    MALE PROFESSOR:As you know, uh, portrait artists often position their subjects so that their head is turned a little to one side... thereby presenting the artist with a semi-side view, uh a semi-profile view.And for some reason, Western European artists have historically tended to show the left side of the subject's face more than the right.Uh, awhile back, some researchers examined about 1,500 portraits, painted from the sixteenth to the twentieth century in Western Europe, and in the majority of them, it's the left side of the face that's most prominently displayed...[rhetorically] Why's that?

    And, interestingly enough, this tendency to show the left side has diminished over time, especially in the twentieth century.In fact, the left-right ratio is now about one to one, fifty percent left, fifty percent right.[rhetorically] Why's that?

    We do know that for many artists, the choice of left side/right side was very important.There's an image by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh called The Potato Eaters... that shows the profiles of a group of farmers...It's a lithograph, which is a print made from images drawn on a stone.When you print something that way, what you get is a mirror image of the original picture—the exact same image, except that left and right are reversed.And van Gogh was so dissatisfied with the print that he wrote to his brother, quote, "the figures, I'm sorry to say, are now turned the wrong way," end quote.

    Anyway, why do you think so many painters in the past chose to depict the left side of their subject's face? Nancy?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Could it have to do with whether the artists were left-handed or right- handed?Like maybe most of them were right-handed, and maybe for some reason they felt more comfortable painting the left side?

    MALE PROFESSOR:Okay. Many right-handed artists do find it easier to paint left profiles, and many art historians think that's the reason for the directional bias.But if that hypothesis—let's call it the, uh, the "right-handed hypothesis"—was correct, you'd expect that left-handed artists would find it easier to paint right profiles.But the research suggests that left-handed artists find it just as easy to paint left profiles as right...So... any other ideas? [when no ideas are forthcoming, the prof proceeds]

    Well, another theory's what's known as the parental imprinting hypothesis... which proposes that people are more used to seeing left profiles, because—[slightly skeptical] supposedly—right-handed parents are more likely to hold their babies in their left arm...

    MALE STUDENT:[providing support for the theory] Well, my sister just had a baby, and she keeps talking about how her left arm is getting so much stronger than her right...

    MALE PROFESSOR:[humorously] Okay, so there's some anecdotal evidence.

    FEMALE STUDENT:[picking up thread of discussion] So then when the baby looks up at their parent, what they see is the left profile.

    MALE PROFESSOR:Right, and—so the theory goes—the left side of the face becomes imprinted in our memories.

    FEMALE STUDENT:But the parental imprinting hypothesis doesn't explain why left profiles have decreased over time.I mean, parents are still carrying their babies in their left arm, right?

    MALE PROFESSOR:Exactly... [introducing the theory he subscribes to] Alright, what about the way the artist's studio is organized, specifically the light source?Remember that the light source determines where the shadows are.So if you're a right-handed artist, you'd want the light coming from your left... because you don't want your painting hand to cast a shadow across your canvas. Right?And if the light's coming from your left, you'd want your subject to turn to their right, into the light.... And if they do that, what do you see?

    FEMALE STUDENT:The left side of their face.

    MALE PROFESSOR:Exactly. And, well into the twentieth century, many an artist's primary light source would be the sun, and they'd set up their studio to take maximum advantage of it...But then what happens as other high-quality, portable, artificial light sources become available?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Well, you could position your subject in a lot more different ways and still have good lighting on your subject and on your canvas.

    MALE PROFESSOR:[leading] So...

    FEMALE STUDENT:You'd expect to see a more balanced ratio of left- and right-side portraits.

  • 旁白:请听艺术史课上的部分内容。

    教授:你们也知道,肖像画家通常会给他们的模特定一个姿势,这样他们的头就会稍微转向一边,从而给画家呈现出一个半边的画面,一个半侧面的画面。出于某种原因,西欧画家历史上更愿意展示模特的左脸,而不是右脸。前阵子,一些研究人员查看了1500幅肖像画。西欧16世纪到20世纪创作的,它们中大多数最突出展示的都是左边的脸。为什么呢?

    而且有趣的是,这个展示左脸的趋势随着时间的流逝减少了,尤其是在20世纪。事实上,现在左右的比率大概是1:1,50%左脸,50%右脸。这又是为什么呢?

    我们确实知道的是,对很多画家来说,左右边的选择非常重要。荷兰画家梵高画了一幅叫做Potato Eaters的画,展示的是一群农民的侧脸。它采用了石印术,也就是从画在石头上的图画制作而成的画作。当你用那种方式印刷某个东西时,你得到的是原本图画的镜面效果。画面是一模一样的,除了左右边是相反的。梵高对这个印刷物非常不满意,以至于他在给他兄弟的信中写到:“很遗憾地说,这些画像现在变成了错误的方向。”

    你们认为为什么那么多过去的画家都选择刻画模特的左脸呢?Nancy?

    学生:有没有可能和画家是左撇子还是右撇子有关呢?也许他们大部分人都是右撇子,然后也许出于某种原因,他们感觉画左边更舒服。

    教授:好吧,很多用右手的画家确实发现画左面更容易,而且很多艺术史家认为这就是方向偏好的原因。但是如果那种假设,我们叫它右手假设吧,如果它是正确的,那使用左手的画家应该会发现画右面更简单啊。但是研究显示使用左手的画家发现画左面和右面一样简单还有别的想法吗?

    另一个理论被称为亲本印记假设,它认为人们最习惯看右面是因为按照推测,惯用右手的父母更可能会用左臂抱孩子。

    学生:我姐姐刚生完孩子,她一直在说她的左臂正变得比右臂更强壮。

    教授:好吧,所以有一些轶事证据。

    学生:所以,这样的话,当孩子抬头看他们的父母时,看到的就是左边的侧脸。

    教授:没错,所以这个理论说:左边的脸印刻在了我们的记忆中。

    学生:但是这个亲本印记假设并没有解释为什么画左侧脸的现象渐渐减少了啊。我的意思是说,现在父母仍然在用他们的左臂抱孩子,对吗?

    教授:没错!好了,这跟画家工作室的规划有没有关系呢?特别是光源。别忘了,光源决定了阴影的位置。所以,如果你是惯用右手的画家,你会想让光线从你的左边过来,因为你不想让你画画的手在画面上留下阴影,对吧?那如果光线从你的左边过来,那你就会希望模特转向他们的右边,正对着光线。如果他们那么做的话,你会看到什么?

    学生:他们左边的脸。

    教授:正是如此,而且进入20世纪后,很多画家的主光源是太阳光。他们把画室布置得能最大限度利用阳光。但是接下来随着其他高质量、便携的人工光源出现时,会发生什么?

    学生:你可以让模特按照更多不同的方式摆姿势,而且仍有良好的光线照在模特和你的画布上。

    教授:所以...

    学生:就能看到肖像画中左右边的比例更加均衡。

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  • 本题对应音频:
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    音频1
    解析
    题型分类: 主旨题
    选项分析: 教授一开篇就说了欧洲历史上的画家喜欢画左脸的肖像,然后说这个趋势在20世纪消失了。接着便开始探讨解释这一现象的几个可能原因,所以正确答案是B选项。

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