It struck me as Western art moved from the traditional spatialess medieval to the classically proportioned vistas, the body became more important and the face less so. Eighteenth and nineteen century portraiture, and movies of the twentieth century focused on the face. The beauty of the face struck me. I have been struck by some of the northern masters (Cranach, Holbein, Durer) and the recession after painters like Fra Angelico through Lorenzo di Credi to faces which are incorporated into the action, but not the reason for it. You can argue both Titian, Lorenzo Lotto and Velazquez, but their faces are solidly incorporated as devices which move into or out of the picture plane, but don’t arrest you like some here. The exception, Las Meninas, where the the lovely face of the beautiful little girl becomes the only reason for the whirlwind activity around her.
One of my favorite pieces was the Nativity of the Virgin, considering some of the horror stories of childbirth in ancient times, notice the sheer relaxation and beauty of St. Ann (headdress intact) and a wonderful baby!
The nose and right eye of Jesus (lower panel) is a precursor for Picasso, give or take a few centuries.