Coquetry


The statue of coloured terracotta catches the eye with its elegant interplay of lineaments and mischievous spread of rhythms, well justified for this sort of entertaining and flippant subject. Creating an impression of light swinging, the diagonal shifts between the axes put the spectator in an insouciant mood. The carefully-chosen gestures make the sitting figure look as if it is in constant motion, and even the placement of the hands and legs, inclined from the assertive vertical, is mercurial rather than stiffly structural. The sideways tilt of the head arranges the long tresses in a coquettish ruffle, while the roughened pulsating texture is rich in light effects conveying the pulsation and rustle of the textiles with their heavily sagging folds. The viewer feels as if the next moment he will hear a captivating voice, although the young woman’s nondescript face seems to be distanced from this merry and noisy entertainment. Her unsmiling countenance is at variance with the playfulness of the situation, and introduces an ambiguous uncertainty and even a touch of heartbreak into the image that at a first glance seems to be entirely joyful.

 

Brief annotations to the image

COQUETRY is flirting, dalliance, a provocative comportment intended to pique the other person’s interest in the flirter. This strong instrument of psychological influence stirs the imagination and calls for the employment of a whole range of special behavioural ploys such as poses, gestures, glances, mimic, and the pitch of the voice.