We instantly identify wih the figure. By looking into the eyes we see the basic feeling of the piece. The bodies gesture can illustrate activity, lack of activity, sadness, happiness, and the full range of such.
Paint application is up to the artist. It can be applied differently to convey certain emotions. Color is also used for to push the feeling. Dark colors seem to create a somber mood in the piece, while lighter colors are uplifting.
The human body can be portrayed abstractly, or true to it's form. The figure always tells a story. The artist's work is always taken from him and his creation is altered in ways that he did not intend his work to be viewed.