On my first trip to Europe, I stumbled across a small art gallery in Vienna while I was exploring the city. Inside was an exhibition of portraits, alongside a display that suggested different meanings for the hand positions of the people in the paintings. The placement of the hands and fingers was meant to convey information about the subjects' social status and profession, and it was fascinating to see similar gestures appear in a variety of different portraits. It felt like I was joining a secret club, being privy to hidden messages left by the artists. Ever since that day, even though I don't really remember any of the specific interpretations given by that exhibit, I find myself noticing people's hands in portraits.
Rob Curtis's blog
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