Seller Rating:. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course is a complete reprint of a famous, late nineteenth-century drawing course.
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First you did eyes, ears and noses, then feet, hands, arms and legs. Then heads: of children, adults and horses. You then arrived at the human figure. At a time when the function of art was widely seen as the imitation of nature and particularly the human body, artists were actually encouraged to learn to draw.
And this amazing catalog of human parts is said to have been the most popular course for beginners. Vincent van Gogh, who worked for Goupil for a while, learned to draw from it, and Picasso used it when he was a student at the Barcelona Academy. So did multitudes of lesser-knowns. I have learned to measure and to see and to look for the broad outlines, so that, thank God, what seemed utterly impossible to me before is gradually becoming possible now.
I no longer stand as helpless before nature as I used to do. Van Gogh's ''Old Peasant Sitting by the Hearth'' , a man seated in a straight-backed chair leaning forward in a weary pose, was directly taken from Plate III, 39, of the course ''Seated man, hiding his face in his hands''.
Picasso's ''Seated Male Nude'' was copied from the same plate. His ''Right Profile of an Old Man'' same date was taken from the section on noses. And its wonderfully detailed plates, basic line enhanced by shading, volume and perspective, make a formidable spread over several big bays of the Dahesh, that stronghold of academicism now ensconced in luxurious new digs at the former I.
Like most 19th-century drawing series, the Bargue course was divided into three sections: the copying of plaster casts a number of these ghostly white fragments and statues, some larger than life, appear here, lent by various institutions , then of master drawings, and then working from live male nudes. The first two sections were for use in commercial or design schools to teach the principles of good taste based on classical form, the better to turn out competitive goods for commerce and industry.
The last section, drawing from live models, was reserved for fine-art academies, opinion being that such training was beyond the grasp or need of humble commercial artists.
By and large the subjects for the plates are quite elevated. This portrait was a subject of fascination for van Gogh during a period when he was studying for the ministry. Gleyre is best represented by his soft, expertly shaded head of Omphale no date , the mythological Queen of Lydia and lover of Hercules.
The drawing of an infant playing with a bowl is meant to emphasize the problems of baby fat and surface bones ''that dominate the shape and contours of body and limbs. From so much perfection it is almost a relief to arrive at the show's last section, a group of paintings and drawings by Bargue himself, who unfortunately died while his reputation as an artist in his own right was beginning to take off. In his early years he seemed to specialize in coy nudes and nymphettes; later, possibly after a trip to North Africa, he began to do romanticized Orientalist paintings, mostly of single figures like ''A Turkish Sentinel'' in the highly finished technique adored by academics.
His masterpiece is said to be ''The Chess Players'' , a fustian outdoor scene of two men dressed in courtly clothes silk coats and knee breeches deeply engrossed in a game. A kibitzer watches, in equally rococo dress; a liveried servant leans over a parapet next to the men, and a bird flutters on a nearby perch, barked at by a small dog. But to this eye the painting -- although technically expert -- comes off as high kitsch.
Now owned by an anonymous private collector, it was bought the year it was painted for 75, francs by William H. Vanderbilt and held by his family for more than 50 years. It would seem that Bargue's real forte was not as a painter but as a teacher whose painstaking eye and skills could help neophytes improve their work. A fat, handsome and highly informative catalog, prepared by Gerald M. Home Page World U.
Charles Bargue and Jean-Leon Gerome : Drawing Course
First you did eyes, ears and noses, then feet, hands, arms and legs. Then heads: of children, adults and horses. You then arrived at the human figure. At a time when the function of art was widely seen as the imitation of nature and particularly the human body, artists were actually encouraged to learn to draw. And this amazing catalog of human parts is said to have been the most popular course for beginners.
Charles Bargue Drawing Course
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