#44: The Line of Beauty

     How fine is the innocence of a clean curve!  You see it along the flanks of fine vegetables and fruits; you see it—sometimes—in passages of elegant craftsmanship.  You find it in things made to touch languorously.  The 18th century British painter and printmaker William Hogarth thought a good deal about this curving, sinuous line, and especially about the S-curve, the serpentine line (unrolling like a serpent), devoting himself for some length of time to the composition of his Analysis of Beauty, published in 1753.
     According to Hogarth’s theory, S-shaped curved lines signified vivacity and activity, and excited the attention of the viewer—as opposed to straight lines, parallel lines, or right-angled intersecting lines, which merely signified stasis and…um…death.  All this doesn’t bear too much scrutiny of course.