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Eyes in Novels

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 3:59 pm

[quote=""MLE""]On the whole eyelash detail business, if you check out paintings of women done during the renaissance, you'll notice the lack of eyelashes. That's because they were thought to be in the same category as leg hair--crude hairiness useful if you were a peasant and worked outside in the wind and dust. Noblewomen plucked them out.

Here's an example, Genevra di Benci by Leonardo. He loved to paint the detail exactly at he saw it, and you'll notice she's plucked out her lashes.
Image[/quote]

I didn't know that MLE, but it explains a lot. I'd always thought the eyes looked a bit weird in that period of paintings and had just put it down to the current trend. Must have been a bugger plucking them out! (the eyelash hairs!)
I do notice people's eye colour straight away and I do love looking at all the variations, but I hope I'd not mention it in a novel where the observer was 20 feet away in a darkened room. I remember reading one chic-lit novel years ago where the heroine was described as having 'chocolate brown eyes' which I guess is a bit of well worn cliche. The phrase in the novel was 'Her chocolate brown eyes dropped to the floor.' Somehow it created all the wrong sort of imagery!
Elizabeth - who has sea-green eyes - the murky splash against the harbour wall sort of colour!
Last edited by EC2 on Mon August 22nd, 2011, 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 4:07 pm

[quote=""EC2""] The phrase in the novel was 'Her chocolate brown eyes dropped to the floor.' Somehow it created all the wrong sort of imagery!
[/quote] hee hee Yes, I visualize two glass eyes falling out and rolling like marbles on the floor. Not quite what the author intended, I'm sure. :D

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 4:09 pm

[quote=""Michy""]But I'm sure you don't do it from 20 feet away, the way they do in the books. :) Unless you have amazing eyesight yourself. :) [/quote]

I can't see 5 feet in front of me. So no, I guess I dont stare.

But it started to change for me as an adult, I think triggered by a friend of mine who loves her brown eyes. She even wears brown-colored contacts (very hard to find, because who wants to turn their eyes brown?) to enhance their color. I started thinking, then, that brown eyes are actually quite nice. And when I had portraits done a few years ago, and both photographers commented about my eyes, I realized that they are one of my best features. When I see other people's eyes, I now think the brown ones are the nicest -- they are deep and fathomless. :D I wouldn't trade mine for blue or green, now, even if I could.

Ok, sorry mods, I've taken this waaaay off-topic. :)
I wish I could say the same. But I rather hate mine. All my friends have cool eye colors. I have one long time friend who has bluish gray eyes. Most interesting.

[quote=""MLE""]On the whole eyelash detail business, if you check out paintings of women done during the renaissance, you'll notice the lack of eyelashes. That's because they were thought to be in the same category as leg hair--crude hairiness useful if you were a peasant and worked outside in the wind and dust. Noblewomen plucked them out.

Here's an example, Genevra di Benci by Leonardo. He loved to paint the detail exactly at he saw it, and you'll notice she's plucked out her lashes.
Image[/quote]

Oh crap. I never noticed that before. And um owwwww.
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boswellbaxter
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Post by boswellbaxter » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 6:02 pm

My mother has one brown eye and one blue eye. When I was young, I told my teacher that she had one blue eye and one black eye. Needless to say, this got my father a strange look at the next parent-teacher conference.
Susan Higginbotham
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donroc
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Post by donroc » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 8:33 pm

In real life, I always study eyes of people I am speaking with. Unless the contacts have a bizarre color it is to see if they are lying eyes.
Image

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 9:15 pm

I'm finding it quite interesting that people with brown eyes wish they have blue! Blue is the most common colour in eyes, isn't it? I'm a blue eyed blonde. When I was younger I always wished I had green eyes so that I was different! My husband has green eyes. I think brown eyes are lovely, too.
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 10:03 pm

[quote=""Vanessa""]Blue is the most common colour in eyes, isn't it? [/quote] Blue may perhaps be the most common eye color among Caucasians, but taking all humans as a whole, brown is the most common color -- by a huge margin. Just think about it -- there are many entire ethnic groups (Asians, Africans, Indians, etc.) whose eyecolor is never anything but brown (except perhaps in extremely rare cases).

Besides that, the gene for brown eyes is dominant, while the gene for blue/green eyes is recessive.

All of which adds up to more brown eyes than anything else. Which may also account for why blue eyes are generally considered more desirable -- because we're biologically hard-wired to be attracted to that which is different and/or rare. Which also accounts for why blonde hair is generally considered more attractive and desirable than dark hair -- it is also much rarer. For the same reasons as brown eyes -- all those ethnic groups I mentioned above which have almost exclusively brown eyes? They also have almost exclusively very dark brown or black hair.

Of course, I'm speaking of generalities -- there are people who love dark hair and eyes. And what's considered beautiful and desirable goes in cycles, too.
Last edited by Michy on Mon August 22nd, 2011, 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 10:18 pm

I find the genetic coding for eyes fascinating and there are all sorts of trickly little recessive branches and codas that make a difference.
My paternal grandmother had brown eyes and her sister blue. My father's eyes are pale-grey. My mother's are brown from brown-eyed parents. Mine are green. My brother's are blue. I married a blue-eyed man and both my sons are blue-eyed.
Meanwhile my husband's sister - blue eyes and very dark brown hair, married a man with dark brown hair and brown eyes. They have two sons, one a blue-eyed blond (Daniel Craig colouring) the other dark-haired and brown-eyed like dad. So even with what you think likely, there are still surprises round the corner!
Last edited by EC2 on Tue August 23rd, 2011, 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon August 22nd, 2011, 10:32 pm

And don't forget that the rule of brown eye genes dominant is still only a generalization. There are many different variations of the gene around by now. Some genes for brown are recessive, and there is the occasional dominant blue-eye gene out there.

My blue-eyed friend's first husband was also blue-eyed, and their first child had brown eyes. This created suspicion among the in-laws, although my friend was the last person on earth who would have strayed. Genetic testing was required later due to other health problems, and yes, she's his daughter.* Brown eyes and all. Unfortunately, the marriage was long since dead, as was the nasty suspicious mother-in-law.
* not that my friend was in doubt about it. but it does get wearing when something everybody knows is 'true' isn't--and you're the one bearing the brunt of their ignorance.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Mon August 22nd, 2011, 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Tue August 23rd, 2011, 12:10 am

[quote=""Margaret""]People can indeed look through their lashes - it's just that eyelashes are so close to the eyes that you don't see the lashes. Princess Diana was often photographed in a pose like this, with her head bent and her eyelids partly lowered while she looked upward at someone. You can try it yourself if you put the back of your finger up to just touch your lashes and look over your finger - has to be through your lashes, if you can see over the top. However, I do think this shifts the perspective to an exterior point-of-view, because the person who is looking through her lashes wouldn't be aware of the lashes.

But the eye color thing drives me nuts, too! The really over-the-top case is in The Da Vinci Code when the main character is in the Louvre after hours, having just been shown the body, and a huge amount of descriptive detail is lavished on the way the museum is lit only by red lights set into the floor, creating a dim, eerie red glow - and then the love interest walks in, and he notices the color of her eyes![/quote]

This is also said of Lauren Bacall - but, I'm sorry, this still is not "through" by any understading I have ever had of the preposition. I try very hard to accept it merely as a peculiarity of phrasing, a romanticism - but, for my money, looking through eyelashes is best done by dint of standing 3/4 behind somebody with some seriously long ones. It is probably sad to admit this, but I have put way too much consideration into this question for something like 15 years now. Every time I run across the phrase, it drives me bazoo.

MLE has reminded me of the joy of my costume history classes (human fashion is so wonderfully, compellingly GROSS sometimes ... "ask me about my bodkin!") and set my mind at rest. Perhaps Katherine Swynford used some sort of beautiful accessory like opera glasses, with lashes on them she could peer though in a way which inexplicably would seem provocative to those who like the "through lashes" look. Hee.


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I happen to have extremely light brown eyes, and the only problem I ever had with them was that when I was younger I did not feel they were dark enough. My best friend has VERY dark brown eyes, and they are gorgeous. Mine can actually be very striking, and I have always preferred brown or green eyes over blue eyes (and, as I prefer dark hair over blond - isn't it natural I would have married, once upon a time, the biggest Nordic God, with golden blond hair and WINDEX-blue eyes!), but more than anything the importance of anyone's eyes lies in what lies behind them. Donroc's point is an important one.

You can find any color eyes beautiful depending on who is using them to look at you (this may go for the mirror too). The eyes I love best now actually have no definable color; they change, but they never seem to settle on grey, or hazel, or green, or brown. That they are mercurial is amusingly appropriate, but not their magic. The power in *that* gaze comes from much deeper than the irises!
Last edited by DianeL on Tue August 23rd, 2011, 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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