The Elusive Smile in Art History

It’s a common misconception that the reason subjects in portraits of yesteryear didn’t smile is because of unappealing looking teeth. In fact, the reason is quite logical: smiling for hours on end is awkward and straining for models. In an essay on the topic, writer Nicholas Jeeves says, “A smile is like a blush. It is a response, not an expression per se, and so …