Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some Art Resources

I thought this might interest some of you, perhaps not if you're not in the Thursday class, but anyhow...

I usually try to go through new posts at conceptart.org, mainly because it's become a habit over the years and partly because it's entertaining to read some of the posts. While going through some old archives this week, I came across a zip folder with a few free drawing related books. One book in particular talks about how to draw with a painter's eye and was written by Andrew Loomis back in the late 50s or early 60s - not sure. Bridgman books are also great, but he focuses on anatomy, so scratch that from the list of books useful for the current assignment. My best guess is that I got the files from one of the posts over at CA.org, but here are the links to the Web Archive pages for some books from that post:

I also like searching through some other sites every now and then too, if it helps at all.

Have fun drawing... or at least try not to stress too much.

student post ftw, and don't forget to scan anything you download off the internet... nothing came up on my scans, but you never know.

*Edit: Link regarding use of photos*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jean-Antione Watteau

Jean-Antione Watteau Jean-Antione Watteau is a French painter, who was born in Valenciennes, France on October 10th, 1684. He founded the school of painters of Les Fetes Galantes and thus is known as the inventor of the fetes galantes genre. He was a Rococo artist that drew colorful and elegant paintings. His paintings portrayed the elegance of aristocrats by painting the idealized playful and graceful lifestyle of aristocrats in outdoor settings. Despite his paintings being such ‘fetes galantes’, his drawings are said to also embody a sense of sober melancholy, an ultimate futility of life. Many of his paintings are of theater and ballet. Watteau was always in poor health and it finally took him on July 18th, 1721 at the young age of 36. Interestingly, his poor health attributed to his work ethic. Because of his poor health, he was a true individual artist that only pursued his artistic desires and did not let his financial standing and his future interfere with his paintings. In fact, he was known for being very careless in matters of having money in his pocket. I chose Jean-Antione Watteau for my pre-1900 artist blog post because his paintings are very elegant and so to speak “pretty” as the subjects themselves are idealized and he uses such beautifully smooth yet detailed technique in his oil paintings that almost resemble the use of pastels. Also, his use of a wide range of color on a piece is quite amazing. This can be seen in his oil painting, “Pilgrimage to Cythera”, which is probably his most famous art piece. Also, the previously mentioned sense of sober melancholy can be sensed by the soft and smoky atmosphere he creates in his pieces. Perhaps it is the subtle darkness he incorporates to even the bright and light colors in his paintings. Furthermore, the subtle facial expressions that hint elegant sadness are beautifully done in his paintings.

Pilgrimage to Cythera, 1717

The Music Lesson, 1719

Gathering in a Park, 1718

Voulez-vous triompher des Belles? (Do You Want to Succeed with Women?), 1720

L'Enseigne de Gersaint, 1720

I also found some beautiful drawing work he did and some sketches, which are beautiful in its line work.

Two Studies of the Head and Shoulders of a Little Girl, 1716-17

Young Woman Seated

Sitting Couple, c. 1716

“Jean-Antoine Watteau – The complete works.” 2002-2009. 8 Oct 2009.

Lauterbach, Iris. Antoine Watteau, 1684-1721. Köln : Taschen, c2008.

Pioch, Nicolas. “WebMuseum: Watteau, Jean-Antoine.” 14 Oct 2002. 8 Oct 2009.

Russel McNeil, PhD. “Malaspina Great Books – Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721).” 1995-2006. 8 Oct 2009. http://www.malaspina.org/watteauj.htm.

Wikipedia. “Antoine Watteau.” 8 Oct 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_Watteau.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Silver Favourites (1903)

Lawrence Alma-Tadema was born January 8 1836 in the Netherlands. He trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp in Belgium. In 1870 he moved to England where he spent the rest of his life. He was a classical theme artist and he was most well known and famous for his ability to capture the essence of the decadence, beauty and luxury of the Roman empire. Most of his subject were portrayed in lavish marble interiors or magnificent backdrops of bright Mediterranean sea and sky. Eventually he became one of the most celebrated, recognized, honored and well paid painters of the period. Although he was so well respected throughout his lifetime for his skill and success as a painter, after his death he fell into discredit. It has only been recently, within the past thirty years, that his artwork has been re-credited for its significance and impact on nineteenth century English art.

I chose this artist because I had never seen any of his work and I was truly fascinated by the skillful portrayals of classical subjects. The images of the paintings I have studied are truly incredible in the use of vibrant colors and impeccable precision and accuracy of the figures. His works are stunningly realistic, in fact you could easily mistake some for photographs. Therefore his skill is undeniable. The works themselves suck you in to the classical world which they portray and send you into a dream of bright blue Mediterranean seas and crisp clean marble. The work of Lawrence Alma-Tadema is truly inspirational. The effect that his work had on my personally came to a bit of a surprise to me because normally I am more drawn to art that uses more abstract representations of images. However, I am glad that I broadened my horizons a little bit so that I could enjoy the beautiful and luxurious images by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Spring (1894)

Hero (1898)

The Women of Amphissa (1887)

The Finding of Moses (1904)


Ash, Russell. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1990,1989.



Friday, October 9, 2009

Artist: Jose Maria Velasco, Maria Suarez

Jose Maria Velasco was a Mexican landscape artist who lived from 1840 through 1912. He was born in Temascalcingo, but moved to Mexico City when his father passed away in 1846. Velasco's interest in art began at an early age and lead him to enroll in the Art Academy of San Carlos. Throughout his lifetime, Velasco was highly recognized for his artwork, winning prizes and awards. After he moved to La Villa Guadalupe in 1874, he began his set of paintings the Valley of Mexico which were praised at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition (1976). Although Velasco worked with different kinds of media, and experimented with impressionism and watercolor, he also made drawings. His drawing style portrayed landscapes of plants and rocks, ruins from native populations described in detailed and fine lines and strokes.
I chose this artist because he connected with nature, and through his drawings exposed the beauty of the ruins and remnants of the people in Mexico as well as the country itself. He left a legacy by painting and because he has been so acclamated, he represents Latin American art.


Universidad Autonoma de Mexico. Jose Maria Velasco, Homenaje. Mexico, 1989

AUGUSTE RODIN (1840 - 1917)

Although Auguste Rodin is most famous for being a great sculptor, he was also a prolific draughtsman, who created over 9000 sketches and watercolors. Rodin did not simply use drawing as an aid to assist him in sculpture. For Rodin, drawing was a form of art expression in its own right that allowed him to closely study the true form and naturalness of the human body.


Rodin was born into a working class family in Paris on November 12, 1840. As a child, he attended the Ecole Impériale Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathematiques, where he was trained in the traditional methods of French eighteenth-century art. Because he was not admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Rodin became an apprentice to the sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier Belleuse. It was during this time that he learned to sculpt and began creating his own sculptures. In 1876, Rodin toured France and Italy, where he saw numerous gothic cathedrals and Michelangelo’s sculptures, both of which greatly influenced and inspired his own art work. By 1880, he had become a well-known sculptor in France, exhibiting frequently in the Paris Salons and receiving many commissions. Although much of his work is highly allegorical, including his masterpiece The Gates of Hell, Rodin focused increasingly on capturing human expression and movement, often through erotic subject matter, as his artistic career progressed. An examples of this later style is his sculpture Eternal Spring. Despite facing much controversy over his work, Rodin continued to be a successful artist until his death in 1917. Today, his sculptures and drawings are exhibited around the world in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée Rodin, and the Musée d’Orsay.

Artistic Style and Technique

Rodin has a unique drawing style and technique. Unlike many sculptors, he did not simply use drawings as visual aids for his sculptures; he considered drawing to be a valuable form of artistic expression on its own—one that was particularly suited to experimentation and the study of the human form, both of which fascinated Rodin.

In his drawings, Rodin main objective is to capture what he termed “nature,” the human form as it appears in reality, spontaneous and unposed. In order to do this, he relied heavily on observation and line. When drawing a figure, Rodin would keep his eyes fixed on the model, not looking at the paper until after the drawing was finished. He never erased and did not concern himself with composition, balance, or proportion. Instead, he focused on finding “the line of the nude,” the essence of the model’s gesture or movement, by making quick contour drawings filled with restated lines.

The result of this drawing method is a series of figures that are often disproportionate, stylized, or simplified but convey a great sense of movement. This movement in turn creates a sense of freeness, energy, and liveliness. The “naturalness” and “truth” that Rodin desires to capture are grounded in these qualities. His drawings are true to reality not because they accurately depict the human body, but because they accurately depict its movement and, consequently, the emotion and life expressed through it.

Rodin’s drawing style is not only highly expressive, but also highly experimental. Over his artistic career, his line quality, use of color, and use of value changed constantly. The result of this is that he successfully captures a variety of different movements, forms, and emotions. Rodin was also not afraid to experiment with his sketches by working into them with watercolor, tracing over them, cutting them apart, and making collages with them. Because Rodin experimented often with different drawing styles and techniques, he did not limit what he was able to capture and express through his art.

Works of Art

Like Egypt, c. 1900

Graphite on paper, 20 x 30.9 cm

Admirable Relief, c. 1900

Graphite on paper, 30.8 x 19.8 cm

Both Like Egypt and Admirable Relief demonstrate how Rodin uses line to accurately capture gesture. The lines vary in width and heaviness, giving the figures weight and helping to define their as forms. The curves of the lines help to capture and highlight the contours and nuances of the women’s bodies. Also, many of the lines, particularly those in the feet and hands are restated, helping to convey movement. The drawings are filled with emotion and are highly expressive because of the way in which Rodin uses line to capture gesture.

Psyche, c. 1900

Graphite and watercolor on paper, 32.7 x 25.1 cm

Psyche illustrates how Rodin focused on accurately depicting movement rather than proportion and detail. Rodin only draws what is essential to capturing the woman’s gesture. Details, such as fingers or toes, are either completely omitted or only simply indicated. In addition, many of the body’s contours and angles are exaggerated in a way that makes them seem disproportionate or awkward. In spite of this, Rodin successfully gives an accurate depiction of the human figure because he successfully depicts its movement.

Two women embracing, c. 1900

Graphite and watercolor on paper cut oAlign Centerut and reassembled, 34.1 x 15 cm

Two women embracing is an example of how Rodin experiments with his drawings. To create this drawing, Rodin added watercolor to two sketches of women he did, cut them out, and pasted them together. When displayed as one drawing, these two sketches take on new, different meanings. This drawing demonstrates how experimentation increases what we are capable of expressing through art.

Why I Chose Rodin

I decided to write about Auguste Rodin for my blog post after watching Camille Claudel, a biographical movie about Camille Claudel, a famous French sculptress who was Rodin’s apprentice and mistress, for a French assignment. At one point in the movie, Rodin and Claudel discuss Rodin’s sketches. I was familiar with his sculptures but not with his drawings. So, when they were mentioned in the movie, I grew curious to see them. When I finally saw some of Rodin’s sketches, I fell in love with his expressive and energetic use of line. I did more research on Rodin and realized there is a lot that we can learn about drawing from observation and improving our drawing skills by studying his work.


Hayward Gallery, The. Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings. London: Battley Brothers, 1970.

Le Normand-Romain, Antoinette and Christina Buley-Uribe. Auguste Rodin: Drawings and Watercolors. London: Thames and Hudson, 2006.

Vincent, Clare. "Auguste Rodin (1840–1917)". Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.


Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was born in Paris, France in 1848 at the time of the second French Revolution. After his father was exiled from the country, his family moved to Peru for a short time. In France Gauguin was raised in Orleans until he was seventeen, at which time he became an apprentice to a merchant marine and sailed the open sea. Around 1873 his life's interests began to change and he was thrust into the world of art. He joined the Impressionist movement, befriended Camille Pissarro, Cezanne, Degas, and Van Gogh. His life was devoted to painting. After struggling to make ends meet for his family, he "escaped" on a trip to Martinique. He fell in love with the exotic beauty of the island. It influenced his work as an impressionist artist. He fell also, under the influence of Emile Bernard, causing his Impressionist paintings to take on a new style resembling that of Japanese prints. He employed simplified lines, brilliant pure colors, flat planes of perspective, and "ornamental character of composition". He named this style Synthetism.
In 1890, he decided to venture out on another trip. This time, to Tahiti. His work in Tahiti was manifested in his love of his tropical surroundings as well as his love for his new Synthetist techniques. He also became interested in Primitivism, an art form concerned with the expression of pre-civilized time and characterized by exaggerated body proportions, animal totems, geometric designs and stark contrasts. He was the first artist to utilize this style. After Tahiti, plagued with illness, Gauguin did little painting. He wrote literature and worked odd jobs here and there. Gauguin was a very complex man. He traveled often, seemingly unable to fit in anywhere. His art was influenced by this "bohemian persona" and the tropical, beautiful surroundings he placed himself in. Paul Gauguin died in May of 1903.
His art would later influence movements such as Fauvism and Cubism.

Styles and Techniques:
Impressionism: richness of light, blue and green shades on the naked skin in nude studies,
Synthetism:a simplification of forms, elimination of details to keep only essential forms, simplification obtained by use of thick contours and large flat areas of uniform color,
brilliant pure colors, flat planes of perspective, and "ornamental character of composition"
Primitivism: exaggerated body proportions, animal totems, geometric designs and stark contrasts

The Yellow Christ, Oil on Canvas, 1889 : Gauguin's purpose here was to convey the "great rustic and superstitious simplicity" which he saw in peasant folk. He used contour lines, pure color, a lack of shadow to add depth to the figures, and modeling to produce the painting and commentary on simple life. (Ideals of Primitivism)

Gauguin, Paul: Self-portrait with Halo 1889, Oil on wood
from: http://jossefordart.typepad.com/art_journeys_and_conversa/gauguin_halo.jpg
This was described by people at the time as a caricature of Gauguin. The artist may be casting himself as satan in this: the apples are a fall from grace, the halo, the snake. Perhaps it is his own interpretation of the creation story.

Gauguin, Paul: Les Femmes de Tahiti, 1891
This painting of two women from Tahiti, done early in his stay there further highlights his interest in primitivism.

I chose to do Paul Gauguin because I've always been very interested in the Fauvist movement and I know that he is one of the artists that greatly influenced that art form later in the 1900s. I enjoyed reading about his life's story and how it paralleled and contrasted to his interests in his art movements. He abandoned his family and his primitive lifestyle, yet he was very interested in primitivism. He was very ill and submitted to sadness and sorrow but he strove to use such bright, pure colors in his paintings. It's very interesting. I love using bold, bright color in my works and it was very nice to see Paul Gauguin's work in which he used colors to change his style and convey his messages.

Book Sources from Lilly:
Paul Gauguin from the Pocket Library of Great Art
Gauguin by Britt Salvesen

Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch was born as Jeroen Anthoniszoon van Aken around 1450 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. As several members of his family were involved in painting, he followed suit and joined the family business. He gained success with his artwork and when he died in 1516 notices of his death referred to him as a “very famous painter.” While little is known about the life of Bosch or precisely what he was trying to say with the fantastic images found in his artwork, modern scholars accept his work as conveying religious and moral messages. His style of loose brushwork and use of shocking, monstrous images is unique enough to set him apart from any other artist of his time period. Indeed, Bosch’s work has no equal throughout the history of art. Bosch is fascinating to me and his interpretations of the sinfulness of humanity and the (very gruesome) consequences of sinful actions remind me of much later 20th century surrealism.

One of Bosch’s most famous works, The Garden of Earthly Delights, depicts the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. The triptych is full of striking images of demons, monsters, and various odd and disgusting acts. Here is a detail of the painting that I found intriguing mostly because I found another image of a drawing Bosch did before painting this "Tree Man."

Detail, "The Garden of Earthly Delights" Hieronymus Bosch. 1504

Oil on Wood Triptych

This is "Tree Man," a drawing done by Bosch. As is shown in the detail above, the image was modified and later painted into "The Garden of Earthly Delights." I like this because it illuminates the process Bosch used to create his fantastic paintings. It's amazing to me that a 15th century artist during the time of strictly religious painting could take such overused themes and motifs and make them into something so bizarre and fantastic.

"Tree Man" Hieronymus Bosch. 1505

Pen and Brown Ink on Paper

I chose this because it was one of the most offensive and hilarious images I could find of Bosch's work. "Droller with beehive" depicts a man hiding in a beehive with his pants down and birds flying out of his anus. Another man is shown beating the man's rear end with a lute while babies frolic about chasing birds and an old woman watches while clutching a pair of fire tongs over her head. Supposedly the drawing is symbolic of several deadly sins, including gluttony and greed.

"Drollery with Beehive" Hieronymus Bosch. 1515-1520

Pen and Brown Ink on paper


Koreny, Fritz. Early Netherlandish Drawings: from Jan van Eyck to Hieronymus Bosch. Rubenshuis, Antwerp. 2002.

Beagle, Peter S. The Garden of Earthly Delights. The Viking Press, New York. 1982.

Daniel, Howard. Hieronymus Bosch. The Hyperion Press, New York. 1947

Edouard Manet

Edouard Manet
was born
in Paris on 23 January 1832. His mother, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was the daughter of a diplomat and the goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince, Charles Bernadotte, and his father, Auguste Manet,was the chief of personnel at the French Ministry of Justice. Although his father wanted him to enroll in law school, Édouard could not be persuaded to do so. It was only after he failed the entrance examination for the naval academy twice that his parents allowed him to study to become a painter.
In 1850 Manet entered the studio of the classical painter Thomas Couture.
From 1853 to 1856 he visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, during which time he absorbed the influences of the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velazquez and Francisco Jose de Goya.
In 1856 he made short trips to The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. Meanwhile, at the Louvre he copied paintings by Titian and Diego Velázquez.

Manet was heavily criticized in his day for rejecting the traditionalism that was prevalent in Paris at the time, and opted for 'naturalism'. He disregarded traditional modeling and perspective, and instead painted his subjects the way that he saw them: "There is only one true thing: instantly paint what you see." His paintings depict real, everyday people-- members of the working class, cafe and bar scenes, the bourgeoisie, and controversially, nudes and prostitutes. Although Manet was influenced by the Impressionists, namely Berthe Morisot and Claude Monet, he was only loosely affiliated with them because he still preferred exhibition at the Salon, which they rejected.

In 1865 the jury of the Salon rejected his Déjeuner sur l'herbe- The Luncheon on the Grass, a work whose technique was entirely revolutionary, and so Manet instead exhibited it at the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused), an exhibition place for works rejected by the Salon. Critics were offended by the presence of a naked woman in the company of two clothed young men; rather than seeming a remote allegorical figure, the woman's modernity made her nudity seem vulgar . Critics were also upset by how these figures were depicted in a harsh, impersonal light and placed in a woodland setting whose perspective was 'unrealistic'. Scholars also cite two works as important precedents for Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, Pastoral Concert, 1508, and The Tempest, Renaissance paintings attributed to Italian masters Giorgione or Titian (circa 1508).

At the Salon of 1865, his painting Olympia caused a scandal.. With the painting he again borrowed from Titian, this time from Venus of Urbino, 1538 which showed Venus in a similar pose.Everything about the painting countered modern standards, especially its rejection of modesty and expression of sexual rebellion: the self-assured pose of the nude, her confrontational gaze, and thin body. In addition, Manet bathed his Venus in a harsh, brilliant light, making her seem two-dimensional and less idealized.

I chose Manet because he was the precursor to the Impressionists and post-Impressionists, whose works I personally enjoy. His daring depiction of everyday Parisians, especially his social commentary on women and prostitutes, exposed many to the realities of French society which had been so easy to ignore and sweep under the carpet before. Also, his techniques broke the traditional painting style and developed free expression, paving the way for so many more artists to gain acceptance after Manet.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia.

The Impressionists and Edouard Manet- Stephen Mallarme:


Edouard Manet Biography:


Leonardo Da Vinci

Biographical Information

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the town of Vinci, Italy. His father was a notary named Ser Piero d’Antonio da Vinci, while his mother was a woman by the name of Caterina (Douglas 1). As a young man he became an apprentice to the Italian arist Andrea del Verrocchio. During Da Vinci’s time as an apprentice to Verrocchio, he developed his skills as an artist (Douglas 5). In 1478 Da Vinci started taking on commissions independent of Verrocchio (Douglas 9). Da Vinci’s commission by the monks of S. Donato a Scopeto prompted him to start “Adoration of the Magi” in 1481. However, Da Vinci did not finish this painting because he left for Milan in 1482 (Douglas 11). During his time in Milan, Da Vinci completed numerous paintings. However, he also pursued his many other interests, which included civil engineering, military engineering, and architecture (Douglas 14). One of Da Vinci’s most famous paintings, The Last Supper, was created at the request of Ludovico il Moro. Da Vinci likely began this painting in 1495, and finished it in 1498 (Clark 90). The French King Louis XII invaded Milan in 1499, prompting Da Vinci to leave the city. (Douglas 19-20). Da Vinci returned to Florence in April of 1500 (Douglas 25). In 1502 he left Florence to work as a military engineer for Caesar Borgia (Douglas 29). Da Vinci continued to travel, returning to Florence in 1503, and then to Milan in 1506 (Douglas 30-31). He started painting one of his most famous works, Mona Lisa, in 1503 (Douglas 29). When Leo X became Pope in 1513, Da Vinci left for Rome. In Rome, Michaelangelo and Raphael already had strong influence (Douglas 33). In 1516 Da Vinci moved to France at the request of Francois I (Pedretti 60). Leonardo Da Vinci died on May 2, 1519 (Douglas 36).

Styles and Techniques

Leonardo Da Vinci is an artist of the Renaissance. Da Vinci used tools like perspective to make his work more realistic and true to life. He depicted light and shadow using a technique called chiaroscuro, making his subjects appear more three-dimensional. He also used a technique called sfumato to achieve a realistic feeling of depth in his paintings, whereby light and dark tones are subtly blended together (“Leonardo Da Vinci”). Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is often cited as an example of the sfumato technique.


This drawing, Head of Christ, is a study of Jesus’ head that Da Vinci likely completed in 1495 in Milan. It is a study for his painting The Last Supper. Da Vinci’s drawings often include studies of his paintings’ subjects (Goldscheider 153).

Da Vinci’s The Proportions of the Human Figure was completed in Venice in about 1492. One of Da Vinci’s many interests included learning more about the human body, and in this drawing we see Da Vinci’s attempt to draw a man with perfect proportions (Goldscheider 157). Many of Da Vinci’s other drawings include detailed sketches of the human body, including its organs and anatomy.

Da Vinci’s Machine Gun was completed around 1480-82 in Milan (Pedretti 361). Leonardo Da Vinci is widely considered to be a brilliant inventor, and created many sketches of devices that were ahead of their time, including these machine guns and sketches for a flying machine.

My Reasons for Choosing Da Vinci

I chose to study Leonardo Da Vinci for a number of reasons. Firstly, I find his artwork to be incredibly beautiful, particularly considering the subtly and care with which he blended colors and shades. He was also an incredibly brilliant “Renaissance man” who was ahead of his time regarding many aspects of science and the human body. Although he lived hundreds of years ago, his legacy endures to this day.

Works Cited

Clark, Kenneth. Leonardo Da Vinci: An Account of His Development as an Artist. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1959.

Douglas, R. Langton. Leonardo Da Vinci: His Life and Pictures. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944.

Goldscheider, Ludwig. Leonardo Da Vinci: Life and Work, Paintings and Drawings. London: Phaidon Press, 1959.

“Leonardo Da Vinci.” Museum of Science. 8 October 2009. <http://www.mos.org/leonardo/artist.html>.

Pedretti, Carlo. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Complete Works. Cincinnati: David and Charles, 2005.

All pictures courtesy of <http://www.leonardoda-vinci.org>.