Monday, February 2, 2009

You can walk the walk, but can you paint the walk?

I've never really thought too much about the way my dog, Giulianova, walks. She actually sort of prances, on her tip-toes, tail wagging whenever she is called. But when it comes to left or right leg first, you've got me.

But apparently, we've known the way our four-legged friends have been walking since the 1880s, when Eadweard Muybridge's motion-captured photographs revealed the sequence of leg movements.....left hind leg moves forward, followed by the left foreleg, right hind leg, and right foreleg, in that particular order.

What does this have to do with art you ask? Alot, according to the New York Times in an article on January 26th. A study by Gabor Horvath of Eotvos University in Hungary and colleagues shows that artists, taxidermists, toy designers and others responsible for depicting animals have not gotten it right. 300 depictions of animals walking were analyzed. "Walking" is when two or more legs are touching the ground, as opposed to galloping, when all legs are lifted.

The finding, found in Current Biology, reported that almost half are wrong! We should be ashamed!

The researchers found it in their hearts to forgive the toy makers, but not so much to those in natural history museums and science publications. I think this is a pure example of "paying attention to detail", don't you agree? Wouldn't want to see an oil painting of you walking on your hands would you?

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