Well, my sister just had a baby and she keeps talking about how her left arm is getting so much stronger than her right.
OK, so there’s some anecdotal evidence.
So, then when the baby looks up at their parent, what they see is the left profile.
Right. And so the theory goes: the left side of the face becomes imprinted in our memories.
But the parental imprinting hypothesis doesn’t explain why left profiles have decreased over time.
I mean, parents are still carrying their babies in their left arm, right?
Exactly! All right, what about the way the artists’ studio is organized, specially the light source.
Remember that the light source determines where the shadows are.
So, if you’re a right-handed artists, you’d want to the light coming from your left
because you don’t want your printing hand to cast a shadow across your canvas, right?
And if the light’s coming from your left, you’d want your subject to turn to their right into the light.
And if they do that, what do you see?
The left side of their face.
Exactly, and well into the 20th century, many an artist’s primary light source would be the sun.
And they set up their studio to take maximum advantage of it.
But then what happens as other high-quality, portable, artificial light sources become available.
Well, you could position your subject in a lot more different ways and still have good lighting on your subject and on your canvas.
You’d expect to see a more balanced ratio of left- and right-side portraits.