Study of Mouths, from New Method

Applying his methodical approach to proportions, Lequeu used a protractor to draw a mouth frontally and in profile. As diagrammed, the contour of lips drawn according to this method would be derived from a series of curved arches extrapolated from a sequence of fixed points. The commentary compares the sinuous line of a closed mouth to a cupid’s bow, evoking the “sweet melancholy smile” of Venus’s “perfect mouth.”

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Study of Mouths, from New Method, 1792
Pen and black ink, gray-brown wash
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie