il taglio penetrante del volto

Mal S.

USA, English
Hello, I am translating a description of a sculpture for an exhibition catalogue:

L’esuberanza del modellato, lo sbalzo dei muscoli facciali, il taglio penetrante del volto tra il ferigno e il tragico, sono tutti elementi distintivi.

I have:

The exuberant modeling, the jutting [or prominent?] facial muscles, the penetrating cut of the face, between feral and tragic, are all distinctive elements.

"Cut" is not very satisfactory. Is "taglio del volto" an idiom? Suggestions? Thank you for any help you can offer.
  • I am not exactly sure but here is one possibility to consider:

    I reckon penetrante is 'piercing' more than 'penetrating' (as in 'she gave me a piercing look'), and then maybe you could say: 'the piercing features of the face'/'the piercing facial features'.

    Also i think 'prominent' would be better than 'jutting'...

    My thoughts are that 'taglio' has something to do with 'defining features/facial outline/relief' or a combination of all of those... But I can't think of a word that gets that across...


    Senior Member
    Verona (Italy)
    Yes, Giacomo, you're right about taglio.

    Why not to leave the nouns in English as well? The exuberance of the modeling, the prominence of the facial muscles, the piercing profile of the face...

    (Profile is not exact, I'm really struggling...)

    Mal S.

    USA, English
    Thank you. Considering the context, I think the intended meaning must be something like "the fierce expression of the face, [halfway] between feral and tragic..."

    Is "the piercing look of the face..." a possibility?
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