Carving Half Closed Eyes

the question was how to carve the eyes, when they are half closed, is it better to carve the iris or not ? … to answer this, i did look examples where exactely this problem was treated, and if i would do the carving, i would choose from these examples the solution i like best for my purpose… so, let us look together 5 different examples from old masters and a “modern” carving :


first one is a bernini angel. the eyes are almost closed, but they are still open a little so he does look. and, if you look closely you see there is no iris or pupil carved, its only shadows from the overhanging top eyelid.


the second is bernini´s ludovica. her eyes are a little more open than on the angel, and we can see that no pupil or iris is carved. both bernini examples are marble carvings, but we can of course use them as inspiration when carving wood.


the third is gerhardts jesus. that is carved in linden, and we see the eyeball is painted with iris and pupil.


the fourth example, is a virgin carved by stoss, again in linden, the eyes are closed in a comtemplating way, and no iris and pupil carved.


and the last is of an unknown carver done in marble, a contemporary work, and this shows iris and pupil carved under half closed eyelids.

instead of suggesting you what i would do, i suggest you to look these examples, and ask yourself which one would give the closest in the feeling you want portrait.

none of these examples is like you are carving, but i believe you can now see which is the correct answer for you. … i hope this helps you, … i could tell you what i personally would choose, but i believe it is better if you find the answer in yourself. whatever you choose, i know you will do correctly, and i will help you with technical questions if they occur.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karin
    Jun 25, 2013 @ 21:28:38

    I vote = iris yes


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