Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Arm and a Leg

Pale Young Gentlemen – The Crook of My Good Arm [mp3]

Feathers – My Apple Has Four Legs [mp3]

The expression “It will cost you an arm and a leg” is thought to have originated from fees charged by 18th-19th century portrait painters. The idea is that for each element contained in the picture, the greater the price. Therefore, the sitter could save money by having just a head and shoulders portrait or a three-quarter portrait instead of one that contained both arms and both legs. Legend has it that the reason that many gentlemen were portrayed with one hand inside a vest pocket is because of the difficulty of painting fingers. Whether it was truly a money saving device is unknown because there are plenty of historical portraits with clumsily painted hands.

Science of Sound

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