Tuesday, 30 January 2007

THE EYE(BROW)S HAVE IT

When we were in Venice recently, I realised that if one were going to choose a facial feature to represent the Venetians, it would have to be the eyebrow. Eyebrows in Venezia are a constant source of admiration and wonderment.

There is an Italian tendency to be dark-haired and hirsute and - whilst some, usually elderly, gentlemen sport tangled outcrops above their eyes that are occasionally long and thick enough to constitute a single thorny hedgerow - the common consensus appears to be that eyebrows demand constant tinkering and tailoring.


It is a process that takes its artistic inspiration from Venice’s proliferation of bridges and eyebrows tend to lift, arch and double-span the human face much as their masonry counterparts cross the City’s canals with varying degrees of height, breadth and steepness.

From the elderly Contessa with her lacquered mane of silver hair and her outsize Dolce & Gabbana spectacles to the wasp-waited youth with his low-slung Versace jeans and Missoni scarf, from the Prada-wearing, jewellery-jangling socialite tottering across uneven flagstones on perilous heels to the crisply pressed, white-jacketed waiter delivering Bellinis in Harry’s Bar, eyebrow maintenance is de rigeur.

They are universally shaved, shaped, cut, cropped and cultivated, trimmed, tapered and truncated, extended, extrapolated and espaliered, pruned, plucked and prinked and, sometimes even totally demolished and recreated with pencil line or paintbrush stroke.

© Brian Sibley, 2007; Image: © David Weeks, 2007

8 comments:

Scrooge said...

How do you get these people to pose for you ? I tried it with a few ladies on holiday but I just got thumped on the nose. Is it because its art ?

Brian Sibley said...

I get David to take the photos, then HE gets thumped on the nose!

Actually, this was in Harry's Bar which is an institution where everybody (well, certainly every American) takes photos of the barmen making Bellinis!

Brian Sibley said...

ANNE in Texas e-mails:

"My, my it is good to have you back. I missed my late-night blog visits so over the holidays. Loved the eyebrow piece.

"Belated best wishes for the New Year."

Thanks, Anne! :-)

Suzanne said...

Weird! Almost as bad as the lack of eyebrows altogether on Brad Dourif's Grima Wormtongue!

Qenny said...

I suspect I would find Venice very confusing, for similar reasons that I found NZ confusing when I first moved there. For the first few weeks, I wandered around amazed that there were so many buff, shaven headed blokes, and ballsy, no-shit women. I thought I was in gay heaven. Then I realised that most of them were straight.

I went through an eyebrow-tweaking phase, but stopped because it made me look too Mary. It would seem the Venetians have yet to come to that realisation.

jen said...

When I was a kid I often heard it said that if your eyebrows met in the middle you couldn't be trusted!
Is this the reason why they sell so many tweezers?

Brian Sibley said...

Well, maybe...

Except, I remember mates at school telling me that if your eyebrows met in the middle it meant that you were no longer a virgin...

The funny thing is, even though I KNEW that I most certainly WAS a virgin, I still used to regularly examine my eyebrows in the hopes that they might show some signs of growing together!!

David Weeks said...

Upon reading the comments all I could do was~
raise an eybrow . . . .

If only I had one to raise!!