Hand Alone: Articulating the Hand in Art
Margaret Tierney ’14, Kathryn Conroy Intern
Published by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College
2014, 2 pages
In Chauvet, France, red ochre handprints and stencils are found in chambers throughout the Pont-d’Arc Cave. These are the oldest known representations of the human impulse to make marks, to bring pigment to surface. A common hypothesis: these hands are a form of early signature. And so on through history, with the hand being created into a distinct visual trope again and again. Think of Egyptian hieroglyphs and how they look so distinctly Egyptian. Look at the Assyrian hands on their carved reliefs, and notice how clearly Assyrian. Or even Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael—all are of the same style, yet each produces a distinguishable hand. The hand, for all of its biological constancy of form, is vulnerable to flourishes of expression like few other body parts.