Midwest University

The Concept of the Line Macchia


Regarding landscape, portraiture, or figurative work, when line is the main approach to defining the large and small shapes in the composition, the pattern is produced by line and we call this a "line macchia."

In portraiture, Ingres is known for this approach and in figurative work, Rembrandt comes to mind. This is also an instance of the application of calligraphic brushwork and drawing, where slight variations in pressure by the artist can produce profound poetic statements and give expression to his or her feelings for the subject.

The line macchia also is based on the concept of "coding." Even the simplest thumbnail sketch records abbreviated marks that encode an enormous amount of information in shorthand form as the scene enters the eye of the artist and is transferred to paper or canvas while first passing though the sentiment and subconscious mind. The result is a coded "document" that can be decompressed and elaborated later in the studio or overpainted on the scene, utilized as an architecture for additional immediate work.