Massys' Grotesque Old Woman
, 1510-1520, was obviously created with a degree of disegno interno . Anatomy: skull,
eye sockets, nostrils, chin, cheekbones, collarbone, and fingers are
depicted. Biologically correct? Yes, especially the hands.
the skull is too long and egg-shaped. Eyes are too small, nose too short,
breasts large(?). Biologically correct? Hands - yes, skull, length of nose
and distance between nostrils and lips (like a chimpanzee) - no. Mass: there
are many hills and valleys which are accurately shaded in high and low value.
The eye sockets are sunken inward, the breasts flow over the top of her dress,
and the knuckles and tendons in the hands show their bumpiness. In this
example, the artist combined disegno esterno with disegno
interno. Some parts are deliberately distorted or abstracted. If Massys
could so beautifully represent the details of the hands, why didn't he
continue that degree of accuracy and naturalism throughout the painting?
a symbolic message. Attached to a print created from the painting, Massys
condemned older women who do not dress age-appropriately. He is ridiculing
this older woman who still wears her hair and exposes her breasts as she had
at least thirty years earlier.