Discreet Details: The Study of Hands

The realistic hands of Lladró's A True Friend Woman Sculpture Limited Edition - complete with glossy fingernails, even shows the natural bump of her extensor digitorum tendon.

In any art depicting the human body, drawing hands are a challenge. Even with photography, having the hands look natural and life like is just as much effort as it takes a ballerina to perform on pointe. It takes years, if not decades, to perfect hands and gestures.

In sculptures, sculpting hands are far more difficult, to have it perfect from every angle. Centuries ago, artists used to perform dissection of dead bodies to learn how the human body works to create life-like and anatomically accurate sculptures. Read here on how the Greeks popularised the nude human form as art.

Just how Jesus’s fingers were the determining factor of the legitimacy and authentication of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi’s, Lladró is obsessed about the anatomical accuracy and getting the hands of their figurines to be “natural“.

Hands of a football player of Lladró's Champions Team Footballers Figurine.


With pieces large and small, Lladró strives to achieve perfection. In the Sophisticated Elegance piece (image below), the woman holds her dress with her left hand, whilst holding her right hand up delicately. It is as if she’s shyly saying hi, greeting a fellow guest at the party. Her fingers are very natural, poised and shy, whilst being anatomically perfect. The length of her fingers and curvature of her palms are accurate. For such a small piece, where her hand measures only 15mm across, this is a lot of three-dimensional detail and is a remarkable achievement.

If the hands of the Sophisticated Elegance piece is difficult to do, the complexity of hands on a piece that is captured in movement like Champions League is far higher. As the soccer player runs and aims to kick the ball, his hair is swept by the wind, his cheeks hollow with his shallow breaths, his athletic hands help him balance, with clear details such as the veins on the back of his hands. In pieces that depict movement, the details all need to make sense and proportionately lifelike. Too much detail can detract from a piece, and too little detail will hamper the scene in question.

The belle of the ball: Lladró's Haute Allure Sophisticated Elegance Woman Figurine.

It’s the little details that matter in sculptures and figurines. Today, we’ve gone into Lladró’s study of hands - let us know if you’d like us to write about anything in particular. Email your requests to lladrosydney@formfluent.com

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