names to scroll
down to relevant section heads...
UPDATES (Return to the
top). You'll find more old master studies in Figure Stack,
my figure blog.
old master sculpture studies in Figure
Stack (Nov '13) .
Added four Rodin studies
in Figure Stack (Jun
Stack with study of Venus de Medici
Stack with new images, studies on
Michelangelo (Nov '11).
Studying Antonio Canova in
Payne's Gray - The Three Graces. Added
in Flickr 2 (Nov'11)
Added assorted master studies in Figure
quite old studies of past masters. You'll find RECENT ones
in Figure Stack,
my figure blog. OR, in the UPDATES
column, below left.
The virtues of studying past masters, and the thrill!
are frequently mesmerized by works of past masters. Long lines at
galleries fail to move as one more visitor forgets to push ahead. Yet,
there remain so much more to appreciate in a masterpiece which viewing
alone won't reveal. Since I didn't have institutionalized
training(whether it's good or bad!), these past masters were(and still
are) my teachers. I tried to learn by retracing the path traversed by
these exceptional people.
as compared to Ingres. While the former
increasingly went 'flatter', throwing modelling literally to the
Tahitian sea-wind, Ingres, even at an advanced age(when he painted the
Turkish Harem) presisted with his oh-so subtle transitions from dark to
light. Ingres kept his colors under a tight leash while Gauguin began
to use colors as broad symbols, often shockingly juxtaposing
complementary hues in broad patches(something the "Fauves" hopelessly
tried to copy, and pass on as originals). An artist trying to learn
drawing and painting would normally include Ingres among his first
"teachers". Even though copying an Ingres in oil could be pretty boring
because of the time it takes to achieve those transitions, its
sometimes worth the diligence.
But when I closely studied
Gauguin, I was surprised to find an almost similarly exacting attitude
to drawing. You could easily miss the little anatomical twists and
turns, yet those are what prop up his paintings, make his works so
believable. Such a discipline is unerringly observed wherever its
needed most, yet one would hardly recognize it at a superficial glance.
The discovery, in such an apparently 'loose' structure is so
exhilarating that while trying to draw a Gauguin nude, one almost feels
the power of a Gauguin surging through one's charcoal! Or maybe at
times, even a vicarious ecstasy on realizing that we, as human beings,
belong to the same race of living kinds as these masters! That,
according to me is how one ought to study a master work(if at all),
study by traversing the same path of creation.
Tasting good wine is never easy, but to re-reuse the cliche, there's a
pot of gold to be had at the end!
learned his anatomy the way these past masters did, Picasso
got into the business studying Bargue drawings, Van
Gogh spent days diligently copying plaster
casts at Mauve's studio, and Clement Greenberg, that much maligned
champion of modern art, did not consider modernism a liberation from
the so-called contraints of "academic" art, but a bulwark
against descending chaos in early 20th century.
I have enjoyed myself thoroughly trying to build up a more intimate
relationship with what I had often loved on sight, and have learned a
lot doing just that! Hope you do as well...
|Latest UPDATES are posted above,
to the left...
Bargue, from whom learned the likes of Van Gogh, or even
Picasso! In fact, when Vincent decided to give up missionary work for
good and become a painter, a book with Bargue prints were amongst his
most precious possessions. Even today, Bargue continues to be an
inspiration to many aspiring painters. Click to enlarge.
Gauguin tried to be different. Both in life and work. He
carefully cultivated the image of the "civilized savage" which
culminated in his two journeys to the far east. He ultimately died in
Tahiti. His studies on Tahitian women are incredibly sensuous and
personal. Remarkably free of contraints, these are nonetheless
economical as well as highly accurate. A must for every student of
drawing. Click to see more...
Majumdar, with his clever brushwork, and Atul Bose
with his flawless drawing are amongst the most celebrated past masters
of the visuo-realistic style of painting. Here is a small study on one
of Majumdar's masterpieces -"Shiktoboshona shundori" or "Maid in a wet
sari". Click to enlarge.
- when Degas sought advice from him, the great master urged the future
impressionist to draw lines, lines and nothing but lines.
Degas' works, even those he did during an advanced stage of blindness
display a certainty of structure that could only come through flawless
drawing. Here is a study of one of Ingres' drawings. Click to see more ...
that great sculptor of the east! This native of
Maharashtra, is father to the largest sculpture of Shivaji Maharaj in
the country. Yet, it is his smaller works, like those on the fishing
folk of Maharashtra which really identifies him with his people. I
learned a great deal about drawing while studying images of his works.
Click to see more...
an important painter of the Victorian era and an
administrator. A trustworthy source of convincing technical brilliance.
One need'nt(always) have to be a Mad Hatter like
Vincent to be a good painter. Click to see more...
Olympia. The tradionalists dubbed her "monkeywoman". I find
her lithe, short body highly believeable. The only thing objectionable,
that is to our 21st century sensitivities, is the racist undertone in
the picture. Click to enlarge.
unfinished Milan Pieta, studied in watercolor.
- Another Charles Bargue. His chalk drawings on toned surface look
incredibly smooth from a distance. Yet, studied up close, these works
reveal an amazing criss-cross of vibrant, confident lines. Click to see
- a deep, deep silence. Click to enlarge.
that brat of a young old man, probably didnt let go of a single
opportunity to paint young ladies, preferably unclothed. But this
wonderfully backlit portrait depicts a woman reading a book. One of my
older works, painted deliberately with a bluish palette. There is also
a study on one of his bathing pictures. Click to
took his clue from the unfinished Milan Pieta. A
"incomplete" surface often exudes more character than those with a
Canova like sheen. This section includes a watercolor
study of a bronze and a graphite drawing of a smaller sculpture of the
hand. Click to see more...
Zorn, - This Swedish Master, as far as I am concerned has
been a late discovery, and I have been hooked ever since. I can hardly
think of anyone other than Sargent with such flourish of the brush
while painting portraits of women, especially with watercolor. Click to
Freud is hardly a past master! He is very
much in the present, ruling like a colossus over the Brit art scene.
Freud's fame grew not because of any supernatural design(Greenberg!),
but despite it, and also because of Freud's talents. If explicit
nudes shock you, please do not Click
/ Unknown Masters - This heading in no way suggests
diminished priority. It simply points to those pages where more than
one master has been studied on a single page, or the name of the
painter / title of the painting is unknown to me. Also contains a study
on Van Gogh. Click to see more...