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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1985 Apr;75(4):509-19.

Inclinations of the facial profile: art versus reality.


The average inclinations of five basic facial profile lines and five individual facial profile segments were determined by direct anthropometry in a total group of 232 healthy young adults, all North American Caucasians. Significant sex-related differences were found only in the inclination of the forehead, the lower face, and the lower third of the face, with greater inclinations in males. These results were compared with data obtained from 49 art works produced by ancient, Renaissance, post-Renaissance, and contemporary artists and drawings of the face in scientific papers published by anthropologists, orthodontists, anatomists, and plastic surgeons. In the population study the average inclination of the general and the aesthetic profile lines, the lower face, the forehead, and the lower lip show a receding trend. The upper face is slightly protruded in the males and close to vertical in the females. The chin and the nose are equally prominent in both sexes. The only significant difference is in the greater recession of the lower face in males. The average female population values are reminiscent of those of the Renaissance. The average male inclinations come closest to the findings in the statues of antiquity. The population sample and the contemporary artists showed similar inclinations of the nasal bridge and the lower lip. Generally, the average inclination of the chin in the population is smaller than in any artistic style.

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