Cornélie, mère des Gracques – Joseph-Benoît SUVÉE

This painting, ‘Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi’ by Joseph-Benoît Suvée dates back to 1795.

I opened a photograph of this painting in Photoshop and ran down a few lines. This is his centre line:

The line going down from the top of the pillars intersects the woman’s chin, the tips of the fingers and toes and the knee of the women in the background:

The line going up from the bottom left corner intersects the top of the heads of three people. It also cuts through the lad’s neck, his head is completely above the line. The left hand of the central figure is parallel to it. The same line intersects her right knee and right elbow. Also, notice the placement of the right leg, right foot and the fingers of the right hand of the leftmost woman in the foreground. Her right leg is parallel to the same line running up from the bottom left hand corner. It also intersects the tips of the little girl’s fingers:

The woman’s hand is placed along the same line that marks the shadows on the left hand side of the painting:

The tallest figure is placed at approximately 1/3rd the vertical length. The sleeve of the woman in the foreground, the shoulder of the little girl, the tips of the fingers of the lad and the neck of the woman in the background are placed along the lower horizontal 1/3rd line. A shield hung on the wall and the face and right knee of the leftmost figure in the foreground are placed along the vertical 1/3rd line to the left of the painting and the line to the right intersects with the lad’s ear and the end of his front foot:

It is just fantastic that people had the rule of thirds etc. all figured out as far back as 1795.

FIN

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