Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them

Preface and Acknowledgments

Link to Plates on Picasa


Old Master Drawing Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course II

Old Master Drawing Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course III


Source: Gerald M. Ackerman

This book is dedicated to Daniel Craves for several good reasons, the most important being that he was the instigator, facilitator, and mentor for the book. From the beginnings of our friendship—some thirty years old—we talked about republishing the Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course. The only complete set known to us at the time was in the National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Eventually both Mark Walker, the late and lamented scholar of Bouguereau, and Daniel separately photographed the plates of the Drawing Course, and prints from their negatives were soon circulating among a small group of artists. I enumerated to Daniel the difficulties in doing a new edition: the course had no text, and although it was self-evident that these were beautiful drawings—inspiring and exemplary models that any figurative artist would prize and want to copy—I as an art historian and not a trained artist found it hard to imagine my writing an explanation of the plates and their use.

After Daniel and Charles Cecil had opened their atelier in Florence, Daniel was able to make me the following offer: “Come to Florence and study in our atelier. I can’t make an artist out of you, but I can teach you how to draw, and I can help you write the commentary for the plates.” My first semester at the school was in 1983. Right off the bat I was given a plumb line, an easel, a cast of a foot in a shadow box, and was shown the rudiments of the sight-size technique. I was soon confronted by a model, whom I approached with my plumb line and chalk and the bit of experience I had gained in drawing the foot. Both Daniel and Charles—to whom I owe infinite thanks—treated me seriously as a “prospective artist.” Both of them enjoyed the fact that I had had no previous training and consequently had little to unlearn. Each day they looked at my work, discussed it with me, criticized it, encouraged me, and pushed me along to the next step. It was a type of personal instruction I had never experienced and, sad to say, had never practiced in my teaching career. I was in a room with a dozen other students, and they, too, helped me with technical matters of the most elementary sort—for instance, how to sharpen my chalk, or how to place my easel. The moments of silence and discussion among the students were equally inspiring. By all accounts a hardened art historian and theoretician, I was suddenly being initiated into how artists worked, thought, and saw. Following my initiation period, Daniel and Charles spent several evenings going over the plates of the Drawing Course with me. I made notations on one of the first portable computers. The notes I took then became the foundation of the commentaries in this book. So, Dan, here is your book. Charles, I hope you find it useful, too. You may both find it difficult to recognize your own words through the multitudinous revisions of the text, but it is their spirit and your teachings about how to look at the drawings that animate most of the text.

The writing of several books already under way prevented my immediate return to Florence and my resumption of the study of drawing. Nonetheless, I continued to draw in studio classes in the schools where I taught in the United States, and I also drew —most informally—with several groups of professional artists in Los Angeles, who patiently accepted my amateur standing while I learned more about their working habits. My gratitude here to sculptors John Frame and Judy Debrowsky, whose studios served as the sites for these weekly meetings.

In 1996 I went back to Florence, and for five years thereafter I spent a winter or spring semester at the Florence Academy. I gave several lectures—usually on great academic masters—and continued as a student, drawing academies in the mornings and working from casts or copying Bargue drawings in the afternoon. At the academy I was aided by many splendid artists who daily, in turn, criticized my work—Charles Weed, Maureen Hyde, Simona Dolci, Kevin Gorges, Angelo Ramirez Sanchez, Andrea Smith, among others—all of whom were patient, aware of my intentions and abilities, as well as my limitations. The ideas, methods, and sometimes even the very words of these teachers have worked their way into this book. I borrowed shamelessly: from Kevin Gorges’s discussions about what one learned from copying master drawings; from Charles Weed’s critiques about the underlying reasons for using certain techniques; from the precise and thoughtful instructions of Simona Dolci and Maureen Hyde about the necessity of self-criticism and “getting it right.” Among my student companions, a special acknowledgment must be given to Polly Liu, who always knew how to help out in a pinch.

These ideas, comments, and suggestions were all augmented and revised by me to give the text a consistency of voice and method. Here I was helped by my assistant, Graydon Parrish, an artist of great learning and intelligence, who regularly gave up months of his valuable studio time to sit beside me and go over every paragraph of the book. He contributed whole passages to the technical sections as well as drawing illustrations for the appendix; he constantly checked or questioned my vocabulary and helped to consolidate my various notes for the plates. We worked very closely, and he criticized and helped with all parts of the book. We often disagreed but, needless to say, our friendship has survived intact.

Many artists among my friends were interested in the project; a small number—Jon Swihart, Kevin Gorges, Peter Bougie, Tom Knechtel, and Wes Christensen—read the manuscript in its penultimate stage and offered intelligent criticism. Many other artists, eager to see the Drawing Course published and to give it to their students, have encouraged me through the years. I thank them all. My friends in Minneapolis—especially Annette Lesueur and Peter Bougie—sustained and encouraged me during the long travail.

I was also aided by my academic colleagues, dealers, and collectors. My colleague Frances Polil carefully read through the final draft. The most wonderful example of how art historians work together is exemplified in the section of this book on Bargue’s death. Documents of great importance were discovered and forwarded to me by Madeleine Beaufort and Judith Schubb in Paris and by Eric Zafran and DeCourcy E. McIntosh in the United States. In Cincinnati John Wilson did detective work into the history of the Cincinnati Art Museum for me. The London and New York staffs of the auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s were generous with their time and always responsive in locating information and illustrations for the book. The administration and staff of the Goupil Museum in Bordeaux—in particular Helene Lafont-Couturier and Pierrre-Lin Renie—were of crucial importance in terms of the physical production of the book. They supplied illustrations and information I requested at a pestiferous rate and arranged for the photographing of the plates of the Drawing Course from the two complete sets owned by the museum. Sylvie Aubenas and her staff at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris found photographs of lost paintings by Bargue in obscure locations within the library. The staffs at the Huntington Library in San Marino and the Getty Research Center in Los Angeles, California, were especially helpful; in particular, I want to thank Linda Zechler at the first institution and Mark Henderson at the second. To the countless other librarians, registrars, curators, and collectors who in one way or another added to the information, richness, and accuracy of this book I extend my thanks and gratitude for your cheerful assistance. Curators at museums in England and the United States have done valiant work for me. The staff of the Dahesh Museum of Art—associate director Michael Fahlund, curator Stephen Edidin, associate curator Roger Diederen, and curatorial research assistant Frank Verpoorten—has provided unflagging assistance and advice both as colleagues and good friends. Last but not least, Monsieur and Madame Ahmed Rafif, my publishers, have given me the wonderful support and leeway that I have enjoyed for twenty years. It was Monsieur Rafif’s genial and generous idea to add the catalogue of Bargue’s paintings to this edition of the Drawing Course. Above all, thanks to my partner, Leonard Simon, for his patience throughout the writing and production of another book.


The History of the Drawing Course

The Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course (Cours de dessin), reproduced here in its entirety, is a famous and fabled publication of the late nineteenth century. Divided into three parts, it contains 197 loose-leaf lithographic plates of precise drawings after casts, master drawings, and male models, all arranged in a somewhat progressive degree of difficulty. The course was designed to prepare beginning art students copying these plates to draw from nature, that is, from objects, both natural and man-made, in the real world. Like the curriculum of the nineteenth-century École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, whose ideals it shared, it was designed so that the student using it could eventually choose to render nature in both idealistic and realistic fashions. When the Drawing Course was published in the late 1860s, it was still generally assumed that the imitation of nature was the principal goal of the artist, and that the most important subject for the artist was the human body. The expression of the subject depicted had not yet been replaced by self-expression.

Despite being both rare and arcane today, the Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course is one of the most significant documents of the last great flowering of figure painting in western art, which took place in the late nineteenth century. The present complete new edition will serve to instruct contemporary students in figure drawing. to present an important nineteenth-century document to historians, and to edify the general art-loving public, collectors, and amateurs.

The plates in the Drawing Course are modéles, which in English would be translated as “good examples to copy.” The course follows the established routine in nineteenth-century art schools by beginning with the copying of plaster casts, proceeding to master drawings, and finishing with nude male models (académies). Since this tripartite division of activities was taken for granted in the curricula of the time, the plates were issued without instructions. Relying on the expertise of contemporary teachers and practitioners of academic figure drawing, the present editors have tried to indicate how these plates might be taught in classes and used by individual students today. Throughout, every attempt has been made to explain nineteenth-century drawing theory and practice.

The present book also introduces the figures of Charles Bargue (1826/27-1883), a lithographer and painter known now only to a small group of connoisseurs, collectors, and art students. An attempt has been made to clear his life of legend and to write a biography based upon the scant surviving evidence. His painted æuvre is small, and only about fifty titles have been recorded. Of those, only half have been located, most of which are in private collections. His Drawing Course is known to only a few through stray and scattered surviving sheets and from the hitherto only known complete set of the Drawing Course in the National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 1991 two further complete sets were made public as a result of the founding of the Musée Coupil in Bordeaux. The plates reproduced in this book were selected from these two sets. To make the introduction to Bargue more complete, an illustrated and annotated listing of all his known paintings has been included as well.

The first two sections of the Drawing Course were intended for use in the French schools of design, or commercial and decorative art schools. It was believed that in order to produce articles of commerce and industry that could compete on the international market, designers of utilitarian objects would benefit from knowing the guiding principles of good taste. (This was the argument in the brochure issued by Goupil & Cie to advertise the course On Models. Good taste, or le grand goul, was based on classical form, which was defined by the rarefied style of antique statuary. The combination of good taste and the study of nature resulted in le beau idéal—the rendering of nature in its most perfect manifestation—sometimes referred to more specifically as la belle nature.

The third section on drawing after live models, by contrast, was issued for use in art academies. Drawing after live models was discouraged or even prohibited in European and American schools of design, that is, in schools of commercial or applied arts, and was only seldom and reluctantly included in their curricula; it was strongly felt in the artistic establishment that commercial artists should not be encouraged to develop aspirations or pretensions beyond their percived abilities. The académies of the third part are examples of how the Neoclassicism of the early-nineteenth-century academy was revised by the new interests of the Realist movement. The Realists did not generalize their figures; personal traits—even ugly ones—are observed and recorded. Bargue’s presentation of the male nude, although realistic, is always graceful and often noble.

The course sold well for at least three decades, including several large printings for various institutions in England as well as France. Individual plates were still sold by Goupil & Cie and its various successors until the dissolution of the firm in 1911. The lithographs were evidently worn out by use; some older art schools still have a few surviving relics of the set, usually framed and hung on the studio walls as examples of nineteenth-century assiduity.

The teaching of traditional academic practices almost died out between 1880 and 1950, as the number of academically trained instructors gradually diminished. This decline was concurrent with a shift in emphasis from an objective imitation of nature to a subjective reaction to the world, or even to the abstract qualities of art itself. This was a major revolution in art theory. Since antiquity Aristotle’s definition of art as mimesis, or the imitation of nature, had dominated Western thought and practice. Before the 1880s “expression” meant the emotion or meaning conveyed by the subject—the person or thing depicted—not the emotional state of the artist, as in today’s “self-expression.”

The Drawing Course reveals what the last generations of traditionally trained representational artists were taught to copy and admire. Scholars investigating artists trained between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I will find that this book helps them understand the training and early work of their subjects. It is well known, for example, that Vincent van Gogh worked independently through the course more than once, and that Picasso copied Bargue plates at the Barcelona Academy. Many early drawings by artists of this generation thought to be drawn from life may, in fact, be copies after the models in the Bargue-Cérome Drawing Course.

Today most art schools have dispensed with teaching drawing after plaster casts as an integral part of learning how to draw; and the modern life class differs greatly from the academic life class. Whereas the earlier training emphasized accuracy, solidity, and finish, modern instruction emphasizes gesture and self-expression, which often results in a nonacademic exaggeration of forms. Earlier the model held one pose for many hours, even weeks; modern life-drawing poses are very short; an hour is considered in many studios to be a long pose.

Many modern teachers and practitioners believe high finish is mechanical and inimical to self-expression. Furthermore, the modern teaching of anatomy is cursory. Modern drawing classes neglect the organic structure and unity of the model. Students in drawing classes are allowed to draw approximate sections of bodies and to accept multiple test lines and accidents without correcting or erasing them. A persistent modern view holds that there are no mistakes in a work of art. The only criterion is the artists intention.

By contrast, a good academic drawing—today as in the nineteenth century—should be accurate and finished, concerned with organic unity, and devoid of superfluous details. Careful academic practices not only develop patience but also train the student to see mistakes and correct them. In addition, academic theory urges the student to make continuous reference to nature in order to avoid excessive personal expression or mannerisms (maniera). The human figure is viewed and painted with respect, without detachment or a sardonic air of superiority on the part of the artist. The academic tradition exalts the human body.

Public Controversy Over Teaching Materials

The catalyst of the Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course was an official controversy about how best to teach drawing to French students of design and industry. A Parisian exhibition of student work in 1865 by the Central Union of Applied Arts (Union centrale des Beaux-Arts appliqués) caused much consternation. Eight thousand drawings and sculptures by students from the art departments of public educational institutions had been put on display; officials and critics were united in decrying the exhibits as very poor in quality. Since early drawing education in the industrial and decorative art schools consisted mainly of copying after prints or casts, the general conclusion was that they had been given poor models.

At the exhibition’s awards ceremony the sculptor Eugéne Guillaume (1822-1905), director of the École des Beaux-Arts, verbalized his colleagues’ dissatisfaction: “The main ingredient of art is taste. On this account, we are afflicted by the weakness of the models that are called upon to develop it. To place before the eyes of beginners in our schools examples devoid of all ennobling sentiments, to have copied engravings and lithographs of a false style, of incorrect drawing, of schematic method—this amounts to the corruption of the taste of the nation; it makes the development of vocations impossible. These fundamentals of [art] instruction must be rigorously reformed.”’

Ernest Chesneau (1833-1890), an art critic who became an inspector of fine arts in 1869, delved further into the problem in a series of articles published in Le Consitutionnel. Although he, too, expressed his unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the works on display, he saw a silver lining;

[T]he great benefit of this exhibition will be its having opened the most obstinately closed eyes; of forcing the opinion of a few to become the general opinion: of leading, we hope, to a complete reorganization of the teaching of drawing. A reform as radical as this, I can’t deny, is very difficult to achieve, but it has become absolutely necessary after the lamentable spectacle that offered us—under the pretext of drawing—a run of over a thousand meters … of everything that black and white together could create of inept, ridiculous, and poverty-stricken forms, deprived. with practically no exceptions, not only of any of the feelings of art but also distant from any resemblance, from any shadow of the foundations of the science of drawing: accuracy, life, beauty. . . . The lack of models  that is the dominant cry among the complaints provoked by the examination of the exhibition…

As an official reaction to the complaints of Guillaume, Chesneau, and others, the Ministre de l’Education Publique formed a committee to review available models.

Goupil Proposes a Solution

The demand for better models presented an opportunity that the publishing house of Goupil & Cie could not ignore. In 1868 it published a handsome twelve-page brochure in small quarto entitled On Models for Drawing (Des modéles de dessin). With the self-righteous (one of an official government proclamation) the brochure pompously advertised the Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course, which was already in print, more than half the plates having been released:

All the known models and pattern books were passed in review [by a commission specifically appointed for this purpose]: but these models, for the most par,. were exactly those that M. Guillaume had just denounccd as corrupters of taste….

Thus it was left to individual initiative to solve the problem. Men of taste and learning applied themselves and a certain number of good models have been published. . . . The Maison Goupil could not remain a stranger to an effort having as its object the response to such a high degree of contemporary concern: it, too, set to work, and with the aid of some practical men it has designed a program whose execution has been entrusted to some distinguished artists….

Monsieur Charles Bargue, with the association of Monsieur Gérôme, Member of the Institute, was put in charge of the models for drawing the figure.

In the choice and execution of these models no concessions were made to the pretty or to the pleasant; their severity will doubtlessly discourage false vocations; they will certainly repulse those who think of drawing as an accessory study, a pleasant pastime; thus. it is not to such students that these are offered, but to those who seriously wish to be artists.

The Drawing Course was not unique; there were many others on the market. Around 1860, for example, Bernard-Romain Julien (1802-1871) had published his own course. It was designed for use in the public schools of France, a had it proudly declared on the title page. It parallels the Bargue-Gérôme course by beginning with details of the face and proceeding to full views of antique statuary. The plates are in a refined, linear, Neoclassical style, yet they migth have been the very models against which Chesneau and the committee had reacted. It is hard to see the beautiful Julien plates as “debased,” but their elaborately stylized refinement might have made them impractical models for the teaching of basic drawing skills.

Julien’s drawing of a head, possibly a Diana (fig. 1), would be bewildering to a beginning student, and the schematic view to the right would not be very helpful. The delineation of the profile between the forehead and nose is subtle, with almost invisible modulations. The hair is complex and would discourage a novice. Furthermore, the dexterous cross-hatching could only be achieved with years of practice. The frontal, diffused lighting supports the clarity of the Neodassical style bul offers no indication of the underlying structure of the head, something needed by students with little experience of anatomy. Bargue, on the other hand, offered clues on how to manage the essential forms of the head and espoused a method to make long modulated lines easier to manage by abstracting complicated curvilinear outlines into straight lines and angles.

Fig. 1. B.-R. Julien. Classical Head. (Tete classique) Lithograph. 47 x 28 cm. (18.5×11 in.)

Another Julien plate (fig. 2) depicts the head of the Roman empress Faustina, after a cast also used by Bargue, albeit viewed from another angle (plate I, 43). The Julien drawing omits the back of the head. The lack of a complete outline could lead to errors in the placement of the interior features. (Bargue depicts the entire cast first as a simple outline of points, lines, and angles, making it something measurable.) Julien has drawn the profile of the nose with a straight line, and the hair has been reduced to the demarcation of simplified shadows, with just a few lines. Bargue profits from direct, focused overhead lighting, giving a sense of presence to the figure and revealing the sitter’s age. Julien’s penchant for frontal lighting underplays the structure and character of his models.

Fig. 2. B.-R. Julien. Faustina. (Faustine) Lithograph. 47 x 28 cm. (18.5×11 in.)

Plate I, 43

A direct comparison of the Homer (Homére) by Julien14 (fig. 3) and the one by Bargue (fig. 4) more clearly reveals the different approaches of the two courses. In both the drawing is excellent, tight and accurate. However, the proliferation of hatching in Julien’s example confuses the relationships of the various volumes of the face. Bargue works tonally, logically progressing from light to dark. The result is a greater range of value from black to white, providing more drama, unity, and volume. It’s almost as if Julien were emphasizing the decorative aspects of the antique bust as opposed to Bargue’s stress on the sculptural qualities.

Fig. 3. B.-R. Julien. Homer. (Homére.) Lithograph. 45×33 cm. (17.75 x 13 in.) Bibliothéque nationale, Paris.

Fig. 4. Charles Bargue. Homer. (Homére.) Detail of plate I, 54.

The Organization of the Drawing Course

In the Goupil catalogue of 1868 the Drawing Course was announced as Models and Selecled Works for the Teaching of the Arts of Design and for Their Application to Industry (Modéles et ouvrages spéciaux pour l’enseignement des arts du dessin et pour leur application å l’industrie). The first part was already in print; the second part, Models after Masters of All Periods and All Schools (Modéles d’aprés les maitres de toutes les époques et de toutes les écoles) was in progress.

The first part, Models after Casts (Modéles d’aprés la bosse), consisted of seventy plates and was described as “in itself a basic and [systematically] progressive course with the purpose of giving the student the capacity to draw a complete academic figure.” The publishers were proud that “hardly had the first plates of the [first part of the] course been finished when the city of Paris ordered a special printing for the city schools, and in England the course was adapted by the numerous [educational] institutions supervised by the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).” In many instances the Bargue-Gérôme course must have replaced the Julien course.

The brochure vaunts the selection of drawings for the second part: “These models were intended to develop in the soul of the students a feeling and taste for the beautiful, through familiarizing them with creations of a pure and noble style as well as with healthy and vigorous transcriptions of nature”. It would be completed in 1870 as a set of sixty lithographs by Bargue after renowned old and modern masters.

The third part, Charcoal Exercises in Preparation for Drawing the Male Academic Nude (Exercices au fusain pour préparer a l’étude de l’académie d’aprés nature), contained sixty plates and was completed in 1873. It was not mentioned in the brochure of 1868, and when it was published, it had only Bargue’s name on the frontispiece, without a mention of Gérôme (fig. 5). This was the case because almost all of the subjects are original figure drawings by Bargue. Moreover, as was postulated earlier, the inclusion of drawings of nude males to be copied was a logical step after the first two volumes but presumably was not originally thought of as part of the course. Part III was likely disassociated from the first two volumes since it was intended for use in the fine arts schools instead of industrial and decorative arts schools. Possibly Gérôme’s role as a collaborator on the project may have expired after the first two editions, or perhaps Gérôme simply respected Bargue’s growing prowess and generously delegated the task to his colleague.

Fig. 5. Frontispiece





The first section, Models after Casts (Modéles d’aprés la bosse), teaches the student how to systematically draw after casts by offering a collection of plates depicting casts of both partial and complete male and female bodies. Most of the casts are after famous ancient sculptures, but a few are taken directly from life. They represent a selection that was duplicated, at least in part, in the collections of most European and American art schools.

There are several advantages to using casts as drawing models. Their immobilily permits extended study of a single view or pose; and since they are usually white or painted in a light color, they provide an easier reading of the values of light and shadow on their surfaces. Moreover, the opinion has long persisted that copying casts of ancient sculpture develops good taste. One of the major goals of this course was to teach such elevated taste (le grand goul), the proper selection from among the features and accidents of nature. Antiquity has long held the reputation for having gleaned the ideal human form from among the idiosyncrasies of individual physiognomies and bodies. The resulting classical style was for many centuries almost synonymous with good taste, and its goal was the depiction of la belle nature, the representation of natural forms in their purest and most beautiful manifestations, without flaws or accidents. The style is recognized, indeed, defined by clarity, continuity of outline, geometric simplification of shapes, and the rhythmic ordering of forms.

In practice, the classical style sustains the integrity of each individual part of a form while containing the part in a larger, unified whole. The Greek temple facade, for example, presents a unified composition in which the parts are clearly separable and identifiable: the pediment; the entablature; the columns with their abacus, capital, shaft, and base; and the platform. Each part is independent in the exactness of its shape and the precision of its finish, yet each element is still a necessary part of a harmonious whole—that is, taken together they form a column that, in turn, is a part of the facade. Precision, assurance, clarity of form, the independence and interdependence of the parts: these traits make even a fragment of a Greek statue—a foot, a hand, a head, a limbless torso—an admirable, unified object in itself, while still alluding to the harmony of the lost whole.

Until recently art critics and historians chose the most idealizing period of Greek art as the high point of ancient art and named it the classical period (450-400 B.C.). Even so, the works of the sculptors (Myron, Phidias, Polykleitos) and the major painters of the day (Apollodorus of Athens, Zeuxis of Herakleia, Timanthes and Parrhasios) were known only from descriptions in literary sources and copies. Moreover, the few known copies of the paintings are particularly debased. This choice of one period as representative of ancient art ignores the energetic, inventive, and lengthy stylistic evolution of Greek and Roman sculpture, which expressed a variety of mental and spiritual states over a period spanning more than a thousand years, maintaining high quality while continuing to use the classical style—which was long past its period of dominance—for certain purposes, such as giving dignity to portrayals of gods or statesmen. For centuries critics ignored the production of preclassical statuary as “primitive,” and decried the postclassical production as “decadent.” Le grand goul, based on the art of the classical period (and of the major masters of the Italian High Renaissance), was thought of as the model for representational art. This dassical ideal dominated art theory and teaching until it was challenged by the Realist movement of the mid-nineteenth century. After 1850 a new generation of students caught up in the principles of Realism rebelled against the practice of drawing after casts because they believed the classical conventions practiced in ancient sculpture prevented them from seeing nature accurately. For example, the young American painter Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) was a student in Gérome’s atelier at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris during the 1860s. The students drew from life and then after casts, alternating every three weeks. Already a stubborn American Realist at eighteen, Eakins stayed home during the weeks devoted to drawing after casts.

Two fine paintings, one by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres entitled Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon (Les Ambassadeurs d’Agamemnon) (fig. 6) and the other by the American master Thomas P. Anshutz, a student of Eakins, entitled The Ironworkers’ Noontime (La Pause de midi des ouvriers métallurgistes) (fig. 7) clearly demonstrate the differences between the Neoclassicism at the start of the nineteenth century and the Academic Realism of the second half of the century. Both feature a row of masculine bodies—albeit a bit less nude in the Anshutz—all with varied features in assorted traditional studio poses. Ingres sets out a sample set of classical types: the youthful Apollonian hero Achilles; the younger Praxitilian Patrocolus; the slender, Mercurial Ulysses; and the Herculean Ajax. All are adaptations of classical statuary in Rome or Naples, and each represents one of the ages of man (the set is completed by the melancholic, brooding, elderly Briseus in the middle ground and the children playing in Ihe distance).


Fig. 6. J.-A.-D. Ingres. Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon, (Les Ambassadeurs d’Agamemnon.) 1801. Oil on canvas. 110x 155 cm. (43.25 x 61 in.) École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.


Fig. 7. Thomas Anshutz. The Ironworkers’ Noontime. (Le Pause de midi des ouvriers métallurgistes.) 1880-81. Oil on canvas. 43.5×61 cm. (17×24 in.) Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. (Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3″, 1979-7-4).

The poses used by Anshutz are based on common studio poses. The underlying classicism is somewhat disguised by the non-idealized portrait heads, individualized bodies, and the recording of specific accidental traits (such as the sunburn patterns). Whereas Ingres uses a general light with just enough shadowing to model his figures, Anshutz imitates the sunlight of high noon, with resulting strong shadows, which, however, do not distort the forms. Nonetheless, both stick to the classical tradition of a frieze of figures united by their rhythmic placement and movement across the picture plane. Ingres’s characters exist in the timeless world of mythology; Anshutz’s figures are placed in a specific modern context, a factory yard. Thus, despite their differences, the two paintings are strongly related, demonstrating that Academic Realists retained, albeit latently, many of the interests, habits, and practices of Classicism.

The use of casts in the teaching of drawing gradually diminished until, by the 1920s, it was hardly practiced. By the 1950s even the once strict practice of drawing after live models had become merely a freehand event, without direction or criticism, and certainly without system or method. The result was a decline in the quality of objective painting even by artists who wanted to maintain traditional standards.

Throughout the twentieth century the grand east collections in the academies and art schools, which had been assembled with such effort and cost for over a century, were sold, given away, destroyed, or left to languish in corridors, subject to student pranks and mutilation.

Against the history of these changes, the Bargue-Gérome Drawing Course can be seen as an attempt to balance contemporary Realism with the practices of classical idealism. The authors intended to teach a method of drawing the human figure from nature with good taste, to instill in their students a practice based on careful selection, simplification, and a knowledge of the structure of the human figure. The method taught was newly informed with the excitement of the Realist movement of the mid-nineteenth century, and for a while—even against the incoming tide of modernism—the combination supported the creation of great modem history and genre paintings.

The abandonment of the study of the classical ideal in the last quarter of the nineteenth century was a serious break in an established yet vital artistic tradition. After all, Western art is an artificial activity that became self-conscious in antiquity and again in the Italian Renaissance, each time articulating an intellectual, apologetic theory of art that continued to influence the creation and teaching of painting over the centuries. The twentieth-century break in this developed tradition is problematic for young, contemporary artists who may not be attracted by the many schools and movements of modernism but are instead drawn to the imitation of nature. Without access to the rich lore and methods of humanist figure painting, they find themselves untrained and underequipped for many of the technical problems that confront them as Realists. Without help, today’s young Realist artists may end up uncritically copying superficial appearances, randomly selecting from nature, and unwittingly producing clumsy and incoherent figures.

Practical Matters, Using the Plates as Models to Copy

The Schemata or Plans

Most of the plates in part I of the Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course contain two images: a finished drawing of a cast beside a linear schema. The schema, usually to the left, is a guide on how to accurately simplify the optical contour (mise en trait) of the cast next to it before starting on the actual depiction of the cast. The schema suggests a useful set of reference lines and sometimes a geometric configuration, around which it would be easy to organize the contours of one’s own drawing (see, for example, the triangle drawn around and through the foot in plate I, 5). (The diagrams themselves should not be copied exactly but should be used as guides on how to begin a drawing.) Furthermore, the course presents only generalized rules on procedure; there seems to be no basic underlying formula. However, you should develop a working procedure of your own with reference to examples provided by the course. At the end of part I, when copying the last highly finished plates without a model schemata, you will have to rely on the experience gained from drawing the earlier examples.

The actual drawings after casts were probably done by several—even many—artists from Gérôme’s cirde of students and friends. We know the name of just one, Lecomte du Nouÿ (1842-1923), (see “The Drawing Course” section of the Bargue biography in the present study), and we can safely venture the name of another, Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864); see comment to plate I, 70). Bargue copied their drawings on stone for printing as lithographs. The accompanying schemata all exhibit the same penchant for the use of angles, clarity in execution, and simplification of contours; it seems safe to assume that Bargue drew the schemata for the drawings as he copied the finished models on stone; they represent the unifying method of part I. However, there are a few plates where the schemata are less clear (for instance, plate I, 42) and schematized without a specific underlying method. The eyes in plate I, 1, for instance, are not organized around an unvarying point where the plumb line and the horizontal cross each other—say, the pupil—or the inner corner of the eye; instead the crossing point seems to have been chosen at random. In contrast, the other Bargue schemata are clear in purpose, skillfully organized, and based on carefully chosen angle points.

This chapter introduces and defines some terms that will be used in describing a systematic procedure for copying the model drawings. There are, of course, other methods, and if you are copying the Bargue drawings under supervision, the teacher or drawing master may suggest alternative procedures.

Start with the first drawing, work your way through the rest in sequence, or skip ahead judiciously based on your increased skill or the permission of your instructor. You will quickly note that each subdivision of part I ends with a challenging, highly finished drawing; the section on legs, for instance, ends with the fully modeled drawing of the legs of Michelangelo’s Dying Slave (plate I, 30).

You will soon come to appreciate the skill that produced these plates, as well as their exceptional refinement. Even if you do not understand what you are copying, continue to work with accuracy. Sometimes you will not know exactly what a line or a shadow describes until you have correctly rendered it. By grasping Bargue’s achievement, you will raise your own power of observation and simplification.


The lithographs were made after charcoal drawings and were intended to be copied in charcoal. You should use this medium if you have adequate command of the technique. Use natural kiln-dried vine charcoal in sticks, and reserve charcoal pencils for finishing (the binder used in them makes their lines difficult to erase). Only charcoal can equal the intensity of the blacks in the reproductions, and vine charcoal erases easily. However, you should not use it as a beginner without instruction; the use of charcoal presents too many difficulties to solve by yourself.

If you are a beginner, or if you prefer pencil, you should have a selection of well-sharpened grades—2H through B2 (remember that pencils softer than HB are difficult to use without producing slick, shiny surfaces)—and a good, kneadable eraser. Pencil cannot achieve the same density of darkness as in the plates. Any attempt to produce similar shadows with pencil will result in a multitude of loose flecks of carbon that will repeatedly spoil other areas of your drawing. Strive instead for overall lighter shadows and relatively lighter halftones.

Some of the more detailed plates need to be enlarged before you can copy them. Use a good color laser printer to have them magnified two or three times. The original plate size is 60 x 46 centimeters (24 x 18 inches). In their present size, you might not be able to see or copy many of the fine details, especially if you are working in charcoal. Regardless of the drawing medium used, you need high-grade, well-sized paper with a slight tooth and a surface that can take much erasure. Seek the advice of your art-supply dealer or artists you know. Inferior materials will lead to frustration and keep you from finishing the drawing accurately and neatly.

Drawing Terms

A point is a dot or mark without dimensions on a drawing surface. A line is a mark generated by extending a point (dot) between two points on a flat surface. Two lines that intersect or join form an angle. Points, lines, and angles constitute the basic elements for constructing the contour or outline (mise en trait), the visual outer shape of an object.

Basically, drawing is the act of choosing critical elements from nature and recording them on paper while preserving their relationships. As you study the relationships of points, lines, and angles observed in nature, ask yourself: Is one point higher or lower than the other? Is one line longer or shorter than another? Is one angle more or less acute or obtuse than another? Asking these questions and making such comparisons will enable you to analyze and record the shape of the Bargue cast drawings or of any other object.

One of the goals of the course is to teach you to estimate distances, angles, and relationships with your eye. Some students use a pencil, a knitting needle, a taut piece of string, or a plumb line—held with outstretched, locked arms and one eye closed—in order to more accurately measure the distances between certain points on the model and on their paper. This practice requires that you always look at the drawing or object from exactly the same unvarying position. Some students also use a ruler or an angle with a protractor, which may save hours of frustration. However, you should train your eye to estimate these distances without recourse to tools.

Suggestions for Copying the Plates

Step 1: Make your drawing the same size as the plate you are using. This will facilitate direct comparison with the model. Then begin each drawing by locating the extreme points on the cast: the highest point, the lowest one, and those to the left and the right. Complex poses with extended arms, feet, and joints may require another dot or two to circumscribe. Make approximate marks for these four points on the paper. When joined by contour lines, they will form an irregular rectangle or shape that contains the basic shape of the cast and fixes the overall proportions. You will develop a more concise contour of the subject within this rectangle by measuring more angle points on the contour of the subject and placing them on the drawing. using your rectangle as a guide.

Step 2: As an organizational tool, draw a vertical reference line (hereafter referred to as a plumb line except in cases where the term might be ambiguous) on the paper by either copying the one from the schema or from the highest point of the cast. This line not only shows how the peak of the cast relates to the lowest point but also reveals how interior points for features inside the outline relate to each other. Since many of your initial calculations will be approximate, the plumb line becomes an invaluable empirical device. Additional vertical reference lines can assist in the understanding and drawing of complex areas.

Step 3: See which interior points the plumb line crosses on the plate and mark them on your drawing. For example, on plate I, 43 (Faustina) (Faustine) the plumb line intersects the top of the head and crosses through the left brow and the top of the eye. It then passes closely by the left nostril, conveniently touches the left corner of the mouth, but misses the bottom of the cast. From this line one concludes that the inward corner of the left eye relates directly to the left corner of the mouth. This is the type of observation about internal relationships that one should continually make as the drawing progresses.

Step 4: After establishing the verticals, examine the horizontals. For example, the right extremity of plate I, 43 occurs near the hairline overhanging the projection of the nose. The line drawn horizontally across the brow indicates that the width between the plumb line and the ear on the left is much greater than the distance from the same line to the edge of the right brow. Judge by sight the distances from the central plumb line to other points or angles on the contour and inside the cast; then mark their positions in your drawing. When you are drawing an entire figure and are looking at the head or feet from your standing position, do not move your head up or down, just the eyes. Failure to hold the head steady often results in elongated legs.

Step 5: Your drawing should now resemble plotted points on a graph, locating the heights and widths of the contours and interior features. Observe the angles that would be formed if the lines were connected; then join them with reference to the Bargue schema. Since the junctures of the plumb line and horizontal reference lines form right (ninety-degree) angles, use them to judge the relative degree of other angles. If the angles appear too acute or obtuse, study the finished model and correct them. Break curved lines into a series of two or more straight lines. For example, in plate I, 43 two straight lines describe the upper right brow, but seven straight lines plot the complexities of the ear. The Bargue plates offer many examples of how to abstract a complex contour into straight lines. Occasionally slightly curved lines are used instead of straight ones.

Plate I, 43


However, almost all curves can be reduced to straight lines that cross at the apex. Breaking up curves into straight lines enables you to ascertain the exact inflection point and amplitude of the curve. When you draw curves unaided, they tend to become arcs. Moreover, when drawing an arc it is hard to know when to stop.

Noting anatomical landmarks can be helpful at the outset in order to accurately draw the outline and establish the proportions. For example, the indentation on the right side of the nose and the pit of the neck are indicated within the outlines on plate I,43. Likewise marks are made for some interior forms of the ear. These notations will vary from one cast to another. Looking up unfamiliar areas or parts in anatomy books and learning their names will help clarify your thinking.

Step 6: The next step is drawing the boundaries of the shadows. At this point your copy should appear relatively close to the preliminary schema or—if the plate has three steps—the second one. In plate I, 34 (Dante) (Dante), the division between shadow and light is indicated with a line. For the most part, the shadow line is a generalization of the shadow’s complex meandering across the cast, so do not make it emphatic. Squinting at the model will help in discovering this dividing line between light and shadow, for it will consolidate the dark masses. So will looking at it in a black mirror.Do not outline the halftones (sometimes referred to as half-tints, from the French demi-teinte).

Plate I, 34

To repeat, begin each cast drawing by determining the most important points and general angles (with the aid of a plumb line or some other tool). Do not attempt to transcribe curves; average them with a series of straight lines. Concentrate on the large forms while ignoring small ones. Continually examine and correct the outline; anticipate the next set of more complex points, straight lines, and angles before attempting any modeling.

Values and Modeling

In art theory and practice, the term value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of an area exposed to light (some writers substitute tone for value). It can also be used to describe the absolute brightness of an object (seen or imagined as being without shadow or reflection on its surface). This even value is sometimes called the local value of the object. For example, a gray object has a darker local value than a white one.

In nature, values reveal the geometry of an object in relation to a light source. For instance, each side of a cube will have a different value because each has a different spatial orientation to the light source, a different amount of received light, and—to the viewer—a unique perspective. Similarly, the values will be affected by the kind of light hitting it (direct, diffused, or reflected) and by the strength of that light source (bright or dim). These distinctions all present difficult problems for the artist.

In drawing, the transcription of the relative values of an object is called modeling. There are three techniques for modeling: stumping (estomper), veiling (grainer), and hatching (hacher). Stumping is the rubbing of the drawing medium into the paper, usually with the pointed end of a paper lightly rolled into a stick, called a stump (estompe). Due to its cleanliness and precision, the stump is preferable to the fingertip. Stumping produces a soft, atmospheric effect.

The second technique, veiling, involves the drawing of faint lines with the pencil or charcoal tip lightly over the paper’s grain. This technique alters the value in a very subtle manner; the effect may appear much like translucent veils or glazes. Veiling is useful when modeling delicate forms in the light and where the curvature is gradual.

Hatching, the third method, is the building up of dark value by means of thin parallel lines; when these lines cross each other at angles, it is called cross-hatching. This is essentially an engraver’s technique. Some purists who want all the effects in a drawing to be the product of pure line favor hatching over stumping. Hatching can strengthen the modeling achieved by stumping and veiling. Moreover, hatching adds linear direction when drawn axially and helps to create the illusion of foreshortening when drawn transversely in perspective.

Procedure for Modeling

Step 1: The same rule—work from the general to the specific—applies to modeling as well as to line drawing. Begin with the large, dark, generalized shadow; fill it in evenly while referring to the finished drawing. You may schematize the boundaries in your drawing, but remember that the edge of a shadow is seldom abrupt; still, an area is either in light or in shadow and this difference must be made clear. Once added, shadows give the illusion of sculptural relief.

In modeling the shadows, Bargue downplayed reflected light, which in nature would flood the shadows of an actual white plaster cast. The simple shadows were most likely maintained by using a controlled, direct light and by placing the cast in a shadow box, a three-sided open box, lined with black paper or cloth, which diminishes reflected light.

Shadows record the effects of light and give the illusion of a shape turning in space. A focused light source, with a fairly small aperture (like a spotlight) emphasizes form and casts a shadow that starts out sharp-edged but becomes diffuse as it moves away from the object casting it. A general light, such as that produced outside at noon on a cloudy day, would reduce the shadows to grayish halftones. Classical taste emphasizes clarity of form over showy light effects; as a classicist, Bargue used light to reveal rather than obscure form.

Step 2: After drawing the shadows, analyze the value  of the halftones and place them in the drawing. (A halftone is any variant of value between light and dark—say, white and black. There are usually several halftones, of graduated value, in a drawing.) In the early stages of the course, the finished drawings are separated into three values: one for the shadow, another for the halftone area, and the white of the paper for the lights. Both the main halftone area and the shadows are clearly indicated. However, the transition from the halftones to the light areas requires care. Notice that the halftones can appear quite dark next to the lights and be mistaken for shadow. On a scale of values from 1 to 9, where 9 is the value of the paper and 1 is the darkest mark that the pencil or charcoal can make, the halftones on a white cast are around values 5 and 6. The average shadow is around 4, which is a little darker than the value of the halftones.

Step 3: After the darkest, major shadow has been filled in, the halftones are blended into the shadow and gradated toward the light areas. This can be extended to complete the modeling by the recording of every value. Plate I, 56 (Male Torso, back view) (Torse d’homme, vu de dos) illustrates the gradual lightening of values from the shadow into the halftones and from the halftones into the light, as well as the delicate transitions within the light itself. Here, too, the halftones and lighter values describe complex forms, as along the border of the scapula and around the dimples near the sacrum. Pay attention to the degree of lightness and darkness represented in the finished cast drawing. Each value relates to the other values yet holds its place within the total effect.

Plate I, 56.

Notice the values of the halftones from area to area along the main shadow. Where the curvature of form is more acute, there are few halftones; a gentle curve produces more. Despite the range of values used in the modeling of the torso, Bargue presented a simplification of values and forms without a confusing proliferation of detail. Such control is a hallmark of the classical style.

Step 4: In general, as the course progresses, the finished drawings grow more complex and contain areas that may appear impossible to copy, especially if you were to work from the plates in the book rather than from enlargements. Resolve a complicated area by analyzing its essential structure. For example, divide the multitudinous curls of a Roman noblewoman into recognizable yet simplified masses or shapes. Squint at the values to obfuscate distractions and to average the values into discernable areas. Get a fresh view by looking at both your drawing and the model in a mirror: backward, upside down, or even sideways. Each step completed will make you aware of the next passage to work on.

Finishing the Drawing

Finish requires time and patience. However, as you gradually become aware of how much you have learned by being careful and accurate, your patience and enthusiasm will increase. Ask for criticism from knowledgeable peers. Study your drawing; it is essential that you learn to see and correct your errors yourself. You could also make a tracing of your drawing and then lay it on top of the plate. Analyze what went wrong, especially if you are working alone. Be strict with yourself. A drawing can be stopped at any time, as long as there are no errors in it.

Remember that the academic artists of the nineteenth century whom you are learning to emulate in this course thought that finish denoted professionalism, that it indicated an orderly mind and represented the complete development of the artist’s idea. It was not uncommon for an artist to spend months or even years to complete a work. Accept the fact that classical drawing skills develop slowly and plan to use as much time as needed—hours, days, or even months—to achieve a respectable finish.

Notes on the Plates I

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Parts of the Head


Plate I, 1. Eyes. (Yeux.)

An old Neoplatonic premise has students starting their study of the human physiognomy with the eye, “the mirror of the soul.” Even in the early 1600s, in Odoardo Fialette’s engraved drawing course entitled The True Method and Rules for Drawing All the Parts and Members of the Human Body (Il vera moda et ordine per disignare tuttia le parti et membra del corpo humano; Venice, 1608), the first plate is similar to this one. Eyes exist in a complex anatomical setting that appears to change with any slight turning of the head; they are difficult to reduce to two-dimensional form.

These models will teach you to simplify the organization of the eye and its surrounding structures.First draw the plumb line and the horizontal on your drawing paper. Notice the organization of the angles of the other lines around these two as you copy them. Begin with simple lines—no shadows, no details; put down nothing that will detract from the essential. This will help you approach the eye in its more complex, natural setting.

Plate I, 2. Mouths. (Bouches.)

Eight simplified schemata are paired with finished mouths viewed from different angles. These models treat the mouth as a unit that includes the nose and the chin; the student is taught to see the mouth integrated in the surrounding organic structure of the face, continually varying in shape and relationships as the view changes.The refined version has been developed around the near straights of the schema, without following them exactly. Without the careful control supplied by the guidelines, the proportions would probably go awry.

In the foreshortened views, the line cuts through the center. You are meant to get used to drawing foreshortened views right from the start.These models are idealized views of nature, taken from classical sculpture; the simplification of nature has already been done for you twice: first by antiquity and again by Bargue.

 Plate I, 3. Noses. (Nez.)

The models are classical, some highly idealized. Just as the mouth was considered as an organic part of a face, the nose is here seen in its proper relationship to the eyes and mouth in profile. Several ways of organizing the profile are suggested.The profile to the left is of Dante Alighieri, the great Italian poet (see plate I, 34), and the profile to the far right is that of Caracalla, the ill-famed Roman emperor (see plate I, 38 and fig.15). In the center is an idealized Apollo type. While studying the course, you are meant to build up a repertoire of human types and a consciousness of the specific traits that denote age and character.

The head of Dante is plotted with a single horizontal line through the plumb line; the other schemata contain two or more. In most cases the plumb line goes through the upper corner of the eye. This placement helps to correctly measure the distance between the eye and the nose.

Plate I, 4. Ears.

Ears are complicated, so this is an important plate that you should copy repeatedly until you can draw ears correctly from nature. Look at the finished drawings, and ask how you yourself would plot the main lines.This plate introduces a new type of shadow called hatching, the building up of shadows with parallel lines. The value of an area is established by just a few lines crossing it. Even when they are somewhat spread apart, many lines together can produce a shadow. Density may be further increased by cross-hatching, that is, by crossing the first set of parallel lines with another set. Neatness and regularity of stroke are important in cross-hatching.

Note: It would help to look up the ear in an encyclopedia or an anatomy book to learn the names of the different features (such as the helix, the ante-helix, the concha and the tragus). Knowing the anatomical terminology will help your vision and memory by enabling you to verbalize what you see.



Plate I, 5. Profile of a foot. (Pieds de profil.)

This plate codifies the successive steps of the method promoted in the course. First, a schematic diagram, supported by a plumb line, encloses the subject. A large triangle has been abstracted from the perceived shape of the foot. The points were plotted—perhaps with the aid of a tool—by measuring locations and distances with the eye. The base of the triangle plots the bottom of the foot; the other sides of the triangle establish the perimeter of the cast; one goes along the back of the foot to the heel, the other to the top of the big toe.In the second drawing, after the accuracy of the straight lines had been checked, the outline was further refined, realizing the shape of the foot.

Add the shadow line for the main, dark value (squinting will help you see the shadows more distinctly, as would viewing the drawings in a black mirror. In the third drawing the shape and shadows are refined. After further checking the outline for accuracy, the shadows were filled in with an even value, either by stumping or cross-hatching. At this stage, if the plotting of points was not accurate, there will not be room here and there for all the parts of the foot. If the plotting has been accurate, a three-dimensional effect will be produced as soon as the shadows are added. After the shadows are filled in, check your outlines again. Do not be surprised if you have to make revisions to both shadows and outline. After these corrections, gently soften the merging of the shadows and the lights.

Plate I, 6. Heels. (Pieds, talons.)

Two sets of heels are viewed from the left and from the right. Each set includes a suggested schema of two transversals, or horizontal construction lines, on the plumb or vertical reference line that in theory have been drawn from nature, that is, from studying an actual cast. Study the finished drawing until you can understand the logical placement of the plumb line and the transversals. Then, after corrections have been made and the outlines have been refined, fill in the shadows and make necessary adjustments. These casts are from Greek or Roman statuary, which means the foot has already been idealized and simplified.

Plate I, 7. The foot of the gladiator. (Pied du Gladiateur.)

This is the foot of what was once one of the most admired of ancient sculptures, now known as the Borghese Warrior (see fig. 8) (The work was long held to be the depiction of a gladiator. We know now that gladiators wore heavy armor; the nudity here glorifies the soldier.) It is signed by Agasias, son of Dositheos of Ephesus, and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Plaster casts of the statue were in virtually every acaclemy of art in Europe and the Americas. Discovered around 1611, the statue was in the Borghese collection in Rome until 1808, when it was bought by Napoleon Bonaparte and shipped to Paris. It has been postulated that the subject shows a foot soldier attacking a mounted enemy. He holds up his (lost) shield to ward off blows from above, while at the same time trying to wound his adversary’s steed in the stomach.

We are looking at his back left leg; the weight of the lunge is on his advanced right leg. The statue is intact except for the loss of the metal sword and the shield.In the drawing the movement of the foot is elegantly articulated, as in the spreading of the toes. After you have carefully measured and transcribed the triangle of the schema, ask yourself if you could use some horizontal transversals. Plot the angles of contact on the right side of the foot with great care; every point and every angle must be accurate.

Fig. 8. Agasias of Ephesus. The Borghese Warrior (or The Borghese Gladiator). (Le Guerrier Borghese, ou Le Gladiateur Borghese.) Marble. 199 cm. (6 ft. 6 in.) Louvre Museum, Paris. Thought to be a copy of a Greek bronze from the school of Lysippus, fourth century B.C.

Plate I, 8. The foot of the Medici Venus. (Pied de la Vénus de Médicis.)

This is the right foot of the much-restored statue of Venus, which for centuries has been in the Rotunda of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy (see figs. 9 and 10). This marble, signed by Cleomenes, son of Apollodorus, is probably a copy of a Greek work in bronze. It was considered the epitome of female beauty well into the nineteenth century. The arms are restorations, probably of the early Renaissance. To understand its former fame, look beyond the polished surface to the balance of the pose, which runs through all the limbs, as well as the rhythmical interrelations of the masses and the proportions (the latter are better seen from the rear).The exquisite foot rises gracefully onto the toes in a movement that evokes a response in every part of the body as the weight shifts to the left foot. You will be given the whole leg as a model in plate I, 29.

The drawing is the most refined encountered thus far, with gentle transitions from the shadows to the lighter areas. Several important areas of halftones must be added after the basic shadow has been established. Make sure your schematic drawing is accurate. Note how judiciously Bargue has simplified! the two sides of the foot and the toes.

Fig. 9. The Medici Venus. (La Vénus de Médicis.) First century A.D., probably a copy of a fourth-century B.C. Creek original. Marble. 153 cm. (5 ft.) Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Fig. 10. The Medici Venus, rear view. (La Vénus de Médicis, vue de dos.)

Plate I, 9. The sole of the foot. (Plante de pied.)

This foot seems drawn from nature or after a suspended cast taken from nature. There is only one vertical organizational line, the indispensable plumb line. Depending upon the size of the model and your drawing, you might want to carefully add a transversal construction line or two. The lesson here is in seeing large shapes and blocking them out.

Note: The heel, the big toe, and the plane of the foot are summarily yet clearly outlined. Bargue leaves some shadow lines for you to develop. Squint or use a black mirror to better view the shapes of the shadows.

Plate I, 10. The foot of Germanicus. (Pied du Germanicus.)

The statue, in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see fig. 11), is signed by Cleomenes, son of Cleomenes, Athenian, and was carved during the reign of Augustus ca. 20 B.C. For several centuries the statue was identified as Germanicus, nephew of Emperor Augustus; for a while it was taken to be a youthful portrait of Augustus: Octavius the Orator, Assimilated to Mercury, that is, with a body type (thin and dry) and a pose usually associated with Mercury, the god of commerce and cleverness (he is thought to be throwing a die). Now it is labeled Honorary Funeral Statue of Marcellus, Nephew and first Son-in-law of Augustus. At any rate, it is a genuine ancient work of the Augustan period.

You will see two views of a leg of Germanicus in plates I, 25 and 27, and a full rear view in plate I, 69. The massier (or student supervisor) of Gérôme’s atelier reported to Charles Moreau-Vauthier that, when the atelier first opened in 1864, “during our first week of work the model in Gérôme’s studio was an antiquity, Germanicus.”To refresh your memory and technique, Bargue has here given you two preliminary steps: a simple blocking out around a single plumb or reference line; then more detailed schema with shadow lines and clearly planned work spaces for the individual toes. It will still take some study, measurement, and observation to refine the drawing and to fill in the shadows and the halftones.

Fig. 11. Germanicus (Honorary Funeral Statue of Marcellus, Nephew and first Son-in-law of Augustus.) (Germanicus [Statue honorifique et funéraire de Marcellus, neveu d’Auguste].) ca. 20 B.C. Marble. 180 cm. (71 in.) Louvre Museum, Paris.



Plate I, 11. Hands in profile. (Mains de profil.)

This plate gives both an inside and an outside view of a hand resting on a block. The view from the inside or thumb side uses the margins of the block as organizational lines, along with several very useful diagonals, the lower one showing the relationship of the ends of the fingers. Study the diagonals; discern their sense before doing your own. Although shadows are referred to, no shadow line is given; that is the next step. Note the difference between the shadows on the lower part of the fingers and that on the block; the former is built up by tight cross-hatching, the latter is filled in solidly. The cross-hatching describes some reflected light on the hand.

The view from the outside has the fingers pleasingly arranged. (You should always be aware of  decorative possibilities of finger arrangement; when viewing depictions by other artists. study how they pose hands and fingers.) Here the schemata have two functions: they help you copy the drawing and show you how to look for organizing lines on other casts you may study.

Plotting lines connect the ends of the fingers and the joints. Do not memorize this schéma; such patterns are individual and do not apply to différent hands. Because of the irregular shapes of fingers, shadows are an important part of their modeling. Here they set up a dramatic pattern.

Plate I, 12. A Closed hand and a leaning hand. (Main fermée et main appuyée.)

Turn the sheet clockwise to copy these drawings; the leaning hand is pushing down on a ledge. The preliminary drawings for both views have strong, simplified outlines. The upper part of the hand is just a single line; the back another, although the wrist will protrude beyond it. Bargue wants you to be genéral yet still precise in the beginning.

Plate I,13. Hand of Voltaire. (Main de Voltaire.)

The French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828) was working on his life-sized statue of the seated Voltaire (1694-1778) when the aged philosopher died. It is known that Houdon made a death mask of Voltaire; he may have made this mold of Voltaire’s hand at the same time. However, it does not seem to match either hand of the finished statue, of which there are three marble versions (at the Comédie Française in Paris, at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, and at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier).

Step 1 is a simplification of the form to a few lines, a geometrical shape without complications, a freehand joining of measured points. Bargue wants you to be concise in your first apprehension and sketching of the form; he really wants you to see the organizing straight lines. Does the simplification of the front part of the support help you in any way? Bargue eliminates the middle point of the support in the hope that you will learn a lesson in finding the smaller change of direction relative to the two greater changes.

Step 2 fills in the fingers and the knuckles, clarifies the base, and adds a major shadow line on the base. You must supply the shadow lines for the fingers.

Step 3 reveals the form through the contrast of light and shadow and a few reflected lights at the bottoms of the fingers.

Accuracy is important throughout; otherwise all the details cannot be correctly

Plate I, 14. Hand holding a whetstone. (Main de faucheur.)

This is a very elegant drawing; it demonstrates the structure and grace of the hand in action. The first outline contains a set of angles at the bottom along an external diagonal. The fingers are seen as a unit, with an indication of the forefinger. Study the general shape at first. The second stage plots the fingers and refines the outline. Some shadow outlines are indicated, and some internal anatomical notations are sketched in. During the final stage you should refine the contours and develop the internal forms concurrently. Be accurate in both contours and internal forms. Check the contours again after the shadows are in; you may now see some parts that need correction.

 Plate I, 15. Hand of a woman pressing her breast. (Main d’une femme pressant son sein.)

This is a very delicate hand, slightly plump, with dimples—indentions—instead of protrusions over the knuckles, an effect also seen in the hands of babies.

In Step 1 the fingers are outlined with straights, although they curve. At first curves are best seen as simple straight lines.

Plate I, 16. Hand of a woman holding a stone. (Main de femme.)

This final, linear handling is a delicate presentation of all five fingers of the hand without any complicated details or obtrusive shadows. It is a classical hand, clear and complete in outline. simplified, beautiful, without blemishes or the distortions of perspective. (Bargue has been training your taste along with your descriptive skills.)



Plate I, 1 7. Arm of a man, horizontal position. (Bras d’homme, horizontal.)

This new set of plates starts out with a simple outline drawing; a flat, frontal light minimizes the internal anatomical features, with much of the anatomy expressed through contour alone. Because the fist is pulled back, the muscles of the forearm (in particular, the extensor muscles of the forearm) are tightened, and the triceps of the upper arm are flexed. (A knowledge of anatomy and its terminology will help you recognize, identify, and understand what you see; as a consequence, you will avoid making mistakes in drawing.)

Plate I, 18. Arm of a man, vertical position. (Bras d’homme, vertical.)

The plumb line is through the center, down to the central knuckle. The upper horizontal is through the olecranon process of the elbow, and the bottom horizontal is through the lower external head of the ulna. A curve organizes the knuckles. A shadow line runs the length of the arm; it is strong in the preliminary drawing and very careful in the characterization of form through contour in the finished drawing.

Note how the line of the right profile is precisely modulated; every muscle and bone is indicated with great subtlety. Bargue teaches you to see and express form through contour.

Plate I, 19. Flexed forearm of a man, interior view. (Bras d’homme, ployé, intérieur.)

The plumb line and the transversal cross in the center of the drawing; this helps divide the arm into easily manageable sections. The forearm is strongly foreshortened; the preliminary drawing makes this clear. In the finished drawing the overlappings prepared for in the preliminary drawing) aid in the understanding of foreshortening. The contours of the finished drawing give a sense of breadth and fullness.

Plate I, 20. Child’s arm, interior view. (Bras d’enfant, intérieur.)

The horizontal crosses the central plumb line in the fold of the elbow. The contours of the finished drawing are more accurate than in the schema.

Plate I, 21. Child’s arm, exterior view. (Bras d’enfant, extérieur.)

This is the same arm as in the previous plate (probably the model was a life cast), this time seen from behind. The same coordinates are used again.

Plate I, 22. Woman’s arm, bent [while pressing a piece of drapery to her shoulder]. (Bras de femme, ployé.)

The preliminary drawing has only a plumb line through the center. The outside contours are reduced to straight lines; be careful in plotting these, especially on the right side, which has few internal features to help. As you finish the right side, break it down into angles and turn it into curves.

For the first time this example is fully modeled. Take care with the delicate modeling across the ulna furrow (beginning at the elbow). Be sure the plotting of the fingers is accurate in your drawing. Measure and check until you are sure they are right before you start to refine them. With so many points and angles, continually check for errors; they will undoubtedly occur. The charm of the drawing depends upon the rhythm of the fingers and the shadows, as well as upon the veil of shading across the arm.

Plate I, 23. Man’s arm, bent. (Bras d’homme, ployé, extérieur.)

This is the same arm, with the forearm in tension, as in Plate I9, this time seen from the outside (externally). This view avoids the foreshortening in Plate I9. As in that plate, a single horizontal line crosses the plumb line, breaking the arm into three parts. The shadow line of the lower arm is indicated in the preliminary drawing, while that of the inner elbow is not.

Plate I, 24. Arm of Moses, by Michelangelo. (Bras du Moïse de Michel-Ange.)

Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, carved between 1513 and 1516, is in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome (see fig. 12). The strong right arm of Moses holds the Tablet of the Laws in its hand. The drawing is both intricate in its modeling and in its anatomical structure. Take your time. If the contours are not right, the muscles will not fit in their proper places. Continue to compare your work with the model.

Fig.12 .Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, carved between 1513 and 1516, is in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome



Plate I, 25. Leg of Germanicus in profile. (Jambe du Cermanicus, profil.)

A view of the limb of the judiciously proportioned statue in the Louvre Museum in Paris, now identified as Marcellus, the Nephew of Augustus. This is the play leg, the free or non-weight-bearing leg of a body in contrapposto (an Italian term for the turning of the body on its own axis); here the right leg, the support leg, bears the weight of the body. (See fig. 11 for a photo of the Roman marble.)

Plate I, 26. Child’s leg, rear view. (Jambe d’enfant.)

This is the leg of a robust child aged three or four years. The plumb line is very close to the shadow line. In a young child fat predominates over muscle. Even for soft, rounded forms Bargue uses straight lines.

Plate I, 27. Leg of Germanicus, front view. (Jambe du Cermanicus, face.)

To better understand the posture of the leg, compare this plate with the previous side view ot the leg in plate I, 25. This is the play leg (as opposed to the support leg); it is bent at the knee, so both the upper and lower halves of the leg are seen with some foreshortening and the muscles of the leg are taut. The middle of the knee is positioned over the inner angle; the plumb line does not go through the center of the lower leg. The main feature is the clarified articulation of the knee and the foot, simplified in the tradition of ancient Greek statuary. Many artists who learn this foot seem never to need another. Very Greek is the furrow on the medial (inner) side of the tibia (shinbone). Another Grecian feature is the fullness of the muscles of the calf, the gastrocnemius (upper muscle) and the soleus (lower calf muscle). Note the rhythm of the toes: the big toe is separated from the other toes, which are seen together as a unit. Study the modeling on the periphery on each side; they describe halftones, shadows as well as the silhouette. Here an anatomy book would be useful in helping you identify the anatomical parts indicated by the lines. You must learn to distinguish what you know (about anatomy) from what you see on the surface. To draw intelligently requires that you recognize what you see as well as getting the form or shape right. However, do not add anatomical features that you do not see; they will only distract from clarity of form.

Plate I, 28. Leg of the Crouching Venus. (Jambe de la Vénus accroupie.)

This Crouching Venus, a popular bronze statue once thought to have been cast in the mid-third century B.C., was traditionally attributed to an otherwise obscure ancient sculptor named Doidalses. This is the leg and thigh of one of the many preserved (but still usually damaged) ancient marble copies of the lost bronze. The goddess is at her bath; the upper part shows her wringing the water out of her long hair while turning her head to look at the observer. The muscles of the thigh are covered by fat, transforming the contour to an amorphous but elegant curve. Break it into straights as Bargue does. When it is hard to find a plumb line that passes through several angles, put one in the center, as here. Then a horizontal line will divide the drawing into manageable parts.

Plate I, 29. Leg of the Venus de Medici. (Jambe de la Vénus de Médicis.)

This is the play leg of the famous Venus in the Uffizi Gallery whose elegant foot we have already studied (see plate I, 8). Again a plumb line is simply put through the center. The preliminary drawing shows you hou to abstract the angles in drawing the contours. Using a tool—your plumb line or a Steel knitting needle—will help you locate the most important angles in the Bargue drawing. Be accurate when putting down the points. Check constantly. The lightness and grace in this leg will help you appreciate and understand the reputation of this statue. (See figs. 9 and 10 for photos of the antique marble.)

Plate I, 30. Legs of the Dying Slave, by Michelangelo. (Jambes de L’Esclave mourant de Michel-Ange.)

The cast is from the lower part of a statue (See fig. 13) meant to decorate the three-storied tomb of Julius II, which was planned by Michelangelo for  the Crossing of Saint Peter’s in the Vatican. The tomb was never finish as planned, and the statue (ca. 1513) came into French possession under François I and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. An abbreviated version of the tomb is now in San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, which encases the famous Moses by Michelangelo (see plate I, 24 and fig.12). The statue is thought to have a Neoplatonic meaning, the leatherband around the chest being read as the bondage of the senses that  keeps the struggling soul from flying to heaven and experiencing pure truths. This beautiful plate is meant to be the climax of your leg studies; it features the legs in all their complexity, from the pelvis to the feet. The two legs show the contrast of the play leg and the support leg; the finished drawing is fully modeled.

Fig. 13. Michelangelo. The Dying Slave (or The Prisoner). (L’Esdave mourant. Le Captif.) ca. 1513. Marble. Height 235 cm. (7 ft. 8.5 in.) Louvre Museum, Paris.

Heads in Profile.


Plate I, 31. Nero as a child. (Néron, enfant.)

The head is a cast from a full, standing figure (now in the Louvre Museum in Paris) of the future emperor as a schoolboy (ca. 45 A.D.) The portrayal of people in profile is an ancient tradition that has survived into modem times. It was used by the Greeks—and is still used by modem artists—for portraits on coinage and memorials. The clarity of the view makes it useful where identification should be easy, while adding dignity to the subject.

Step 1 (See Suggestions for Copying the Plates)  is not an easy one; it would be even more difficult working from life. The sparseness of detail (as in the hair) demonstrates how little detail is needed for verisimilitude.

Plate I, 32. Cardinal Jiménez. (Le cardinal Ximénès.)

Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros (1436-1517?) was the grand inquisitor of Castile. His features are extraordinarily complex; consequently Step 1 (See Suggestions for Copying the Plates) is highly analytical. Bargue suggests how one may analyze the angles of the features from a plumb line through the face, which is transversed by four horizontals. A second plumb line down the back of the cast is drawn to keep one aware that the back of the mask is not a perpendicular. The plumb line enables you to locate the outside points and angles. Step 2 (See Suggestions for Copying the Plates) is exemplary: the correction of the outline goes hand in hand with the recording of the shadow line. In Step 3 (See Suggestions for Copying the Plates) the full shadow is strong, without halftones. The few halftones on the face describe textures. Note the simplified and unified areas of halftones in the beard.

Plate I, 33. Young girl. Life cast. (Jeune fille. Moulage sur nature.)

Casts made from living subjects were used in nineteenth-century studios, just as they are today. (See fig. 14) which shows an artist and his assistant making a cast of a model’s leg (see also plate I, 21.) Bargue has placed the plumb line down the back of the cast and drawn a curved line to organize the profile. This is quite similar to plate I, 31.


 Plate I, 34. Dante. (Dante.)

This is based on the purported death mask of the great poet in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, which is now believed to be a later concoction made after several fourteenth-century portraits of Dante, and even they are of disputed authenticity. Even so, the formidable nose can still be seen among the citizens of contemporary Florence. Neither the schema nor the finished drawing is particularly elegant. Perhaps this is a preexisting drawing by another hand, interleaved among the cast plates because Dante was such a popular subject for artists in the nineteenth century. The procedure is similar to that for the profiles above. Despite the seeming irregularity of the face, five important points are crossed by the plumb line. The lesson to be learned here is: do not be dismayed by irregular heads.

Plate I, 35. The Cardinal de Birague, by Germain Pilon. (Le cardinal de Birague, de Germain Pilon.)

Germain Pilon (1537-1590), the most notable of French Renaissance sculptors, is represented by a figure from his famous tomb for Cardinal René de Birague (1510-1583), completed between 1575 and 1590. The statue of the kneeling prelate is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Cardinal Birague was one of the instigators of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre. In Step 1 Bargue captures the character of the model with the sure placement of his first angles and lines, a splendid drawing in itself. The plumb line is from the highest point down the back; this line permits the placing of the point of the nose. The two diagonals, up and down from the nose, organize the rest of the face. The shadow line is more indicative than descriptive. In Step 2 the outline is refined and the shadow is filled in a full, fiat shadow without internal modeling. There are many halftones describing details of the anatomy and costume.

Plate I, 36. Marcus Brutus. (Marcus Brutus.)

Marcus Junius Brutus (85-42 B.C.) was the adopted son of Julius Caesar but nevertheless figured among the conspirators who assassinated the dictator and thus—following Shakespeare—earned the most famous reproach in western history. The work was felt important enough to be included twice (see plate I, 50 for a frontal view), both times as full plates without a schematic first step. Do your own schema.

Plate I, 37. Head of a horse, Parthenon. (Tête de cheval, Parthénon.)

Although this horse is identified on the plate as coming from the west pediment (fronton occidental) of the Parthenon in Athens (448-433 B.C.), it is actually from the east pediment. This sculpture is one of the so-called Elgin Marbles, the remnants of the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum in London since 1816. All the sculptures of the Parthenon are traditionally attributed to the sculptor Phidias, who supervised the sculptural program of the two pediments of the temple and sculpted the giant statue of Athena that graced the interior. Casts of the “Phidian horse” spread quickly into the art academies of Europe and the Americas, where it became the prime model for the horse despite or perhaps because of its strong idealization. The idealization certainly fits Bargue’s taste. Knowledge of the horse’s anatomy was essential to artists before the invention of the automobile made their presence rare in cities. A more difficult, foreshortened view of the horse’s head is the subject of Plate I, 47.

Plate I, 38. Caracalla. (Caracalla.)

This is a famous Roman portrait bust of a Roman emperor who ruled in the early third century A.D. It exists in several versions, most of them of high quality, as would be expected of works from an imperial workshop. The version in the Louvre Museum in Paris has a chipped nose, so this cast may be from another version most likely the famous one in the Farnese collection at the National Archéologie Museum in Naples. The version at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (see fig. 15) is an example of how a good workshop could maintain high quality through a number of versions, all based on a plaster or clay model of the emperor. The model—perhaps made from life or from studies of Caracalla—stayed in the workshop and, like a photographic negative of a famous twentieth-century politician or celebrity, was used over and over as a model for portraits of the emperor. Imperial portraits were displayed throughout the Roman Empire in public places and buildings—particularly in courts, where they were symbols of the emperor’s authority and supported the authority of the rulings and judgments of the courts. The presence of portraits of the head of State in courtrooms is still in evidence today. Caracalla ruled as emperor from A.D. 210 to 217; his reign, although short, was not a happy one. The personal power expressed by the portrait borders on brutality.

In the schema, the plumb line is through the back, with a Crossing horizontal touching the ear lobe and the bottom of the nose. The plumb line was used to measure the points of the face, of which fîve are joined on a diagonal. The organizational lines for the head are almost abstract in some instances. You should be fairly advanced by now, both in how you see, how you make notations, and how you develop them. Note the abrupt change in values from the nose to the cheek; the light values of the nose complete an arc of bright values from the crown of the head and across the brow; the lighting for this cast drawing was carefully set up to produce this dramatic effect. Pay attention to the fact that these are not all areas of pure whites but also lightly veiled ones. You should save this veiling for the last stages of the drawing. The finished drawing is a good lesson in how to simplify hair; several halftones are used.

Fig. 15. Caracalla. (Caracalla.) Marble. 36.2 cm. (14.25 in.) Third centurv A.D.  The Metropolitan Muséum of Art. New York (Samuel D. Lee Fund, 1940.)

 Plate I, 39. Anne of Brittany, by Giovanni Giusti. (Anne de Bretagne, de Jean Juste de Tours.)

This is the head of a recumbent tomb figure, a gisante, as sculptures of the dead lying on their tombs are called. It is from the famous tomb of Louis XII in the Cathedral of Saint-Denis in Paris, the burial place of French royalty. Anne of Brittany, who died in 1531, lies next to her husband, the king. An Italian about whom little is known, Giovanni Giusti (active 1515-22) brought Italian Renaissance style and techniques to France, where he was called Jean-Juste de Tours. The astonishing realism of this dead head, however, is far from the idealism we expect in Italian art of the sixteenth century. It is easier to draw this cast as if she were standing up, but then you will not understand the sag of the cheeks, the collaps of the neck, or the fall of the hair. Remember that you are looking at her as if you were standing near her chest, so that you see the underside of her chin; this view moves her ear up. The construction lines of Step 1 are simple, clear, and very important . The one horizontal organizes the face.

Note: It is absolutely necessary to get all the angles of the profile between the chin and brow accurately or the anatomical details of the face—mostly defined by shadows and halftones will never fit in. This is a highly finished example for which you must devise your own first step schema. Shadows dominate the piece, covering more than half the work. Note the sophistication in the reflected lights visible in the shadows, which are produced by careful cross-hatching on the neck. This was probably meant to be the last model of this set.

Plate I, 40. Julia Mammaea. (Julia Mamea.)


A Roman bust (third century A.D.) in the Capitoline Muséum in Rome. This is the final example in the set of profiles even though the view is not quite a perfect or pure profile. It is finished and rully modeled but nonetheless simplified in its forms.

Heads in Three-quarter Views.


Plate 1, 41. The Capitoline Ariadne. (Ariane du Capitole.)


The head alone has been cast from a full-standing figure in the Capitoline Museum in Rome. The identification of the subject as the mythical Ariadne and the attribution of the statue as after an original by Praxiteles (Greek, fourth century B.C.) are no longer accepted. It is now thought to be a statue of the god Dionysius (Bacchus), a somewhat androgynous deity. This view is just off-profile, with three-quarters of the area in shadow. The shadow lines in the schematic drawing are masterful but by necessity approximate. Only by simplification can you see the larger aspects of the angles without getting lost in détails.

Plate I, 42. Children, by François Flamand. (Entants, de François Flamand.)


Flamand was probably a Flemish sculptor active in France during the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. The plotting lines of the baby’s face are not very pretty in either schema, nor are the shadow patterns of the finished work. The plate is useful nonetheless for what it teaches about the proportions of a baby’s head.

Plate I, 43. Faustina. (Faustine.)


Two Roman empresses are named Faustina, and both lived during the second century A.D. The first was the wife of Antonious Pius and the second was the wife of Marcus Aurelius—both exemplary emperors. Step 1 is a good example of how to schematize a model with a few construction lines. The plumb line goes through a corner of the eye and of the mouth and is a good reference line that will show you where to start each day. The longest horizontal is a good one, over ear and eyebrows. Subsidiary angles can be easily developed for the eye, the bottom of the nose, the bottom of the mouth, and so forth. The finished drawing has maintained simplicity in form and observation.

Plate I, 44. The Psyché of Naples. (Psyché de Naples.)


This work is now commonly referred to as the Psyché of Capua and dates from the first century B.C. It is in the National Archeological Muséum in Naples. This is another head cast from a full standing figure that has a well-preserved surface.


Plate I, 45. The Capitoline Ariadne. (Ariane du Capitole.)

See the comments to Plate I, 41. An unusual view, we are looking over the shoulder of the figure. In Step 1 an excellently placed plumb line locates five basic points and sets the intersection of the horizontal under the nose. Construct to the right and left on the horizontal. The hair is carefully plotted. In Step 2 there is not much strong shadow but considerable halftone modeling on the lower jaw and neck. A view of a turned head with diminished or lost features is called a lost profile (profil perdu). Avoid the tendency to turn it into a profile by paying attention to the accurate placement of the features.

Plate I, 46. Young boy. (Jeune garçon.)

This is another lost profile. The shadow accentuates the profile. This presents an occasion to study the shape of the skull and a strongly foreshortened ear.

Plate I, 47. Head of a horse. (Tête de cheval.)

Although the plate inscription describes this Greek sculpture (448-33 B.C.) as coming from the west pediment (fronton occidental) of the Parthenon in Athens, it is actually from the east pediment. The lithograph by Bargue is after a drawing by Lecomte de Nouÿ. The original Greek marble is in the British Museum in London. This cast is in a very difficult position for a drawing. Step 1 is a demonstration of how to break down the head of the horse into angles. Horizontal lines relate features across the form. Be careful with the curved lines of the jaw.

Plate I, 48. Phocion. (Phocion.)

Phocion was a Greek general and statesman of the early fourth century B.C. This is a head cast from a full-length, standing statue in the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. The top of his head is flat because the Phrygian cap he wears has not been cast except for the rim. Step 1 is without plumb line or horizontals. You may draw in some if you wish since you have developed your own method by now. The schema shows the breakdown into angles and straights. The shadow line is indicated in most places. Reflected lights reveal forms in the shaded areas such cases the values may vary quite a bit. Save these areas of reflected light until last and bring them out of the shadow with an eraser. Be careful not to exaggerate them. This is a lesson in complex lighting.

Note: To plot the curls in the beard, work from large groups to smaller shapes and finally to details.

Heads in Frontal Views


Plate I, 49. Agrippa. (Agrippa.)

This plate is after a cast of a famous Roman sculpture of the first century B.C., now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Marcus Vipinius Agrippa (62-23 B.C.) was the chief administrator under the Roman emperor Augustus. His foresight, reliability, and efficiency are conveyed by the severity of the portrait. A man of about forty, he is lighted from a direct overhead source that creates a symmetrical pattern of shadows under the projecting forms. The finished drawing shows how the human form can be simplified and still retain its integrity. Underneath it all is the stolid Roman fondness for heavy forms.

In Step 1 the plumb line through the middle divides the face into two halves. The horizontals are easily chosen through the corners of the eyes, nose, and mouth. These guidelines plot the corners of the shadow patterns as well. The shadows, in turn, describe the basic features of the face with minimal use of halftones. In Step 2 the forms are clarified by a few halftones around the nose, under the chin and mouth, and on the cheeks.

Plate I, 50. Marcus Brutus. (Marcus Brutus.)

See the commentary to Plate I, 36 to learn about the statue and the subject. Step 1 is not illustrated here since you know the step from the previous plate of Agrippa. The shadow line is clear from head to neck, the resuit of a controlled, single light source. In Step 2, or finishing stage, note that the cast shadows (especially on the nose and chin) transpose gradually to half lights, an effect to be carefully imitated employing skills already nurtured. The darkest values are at the center of the head.

Plate I, 51. Jupiter Trophonius. (Jupiter Trophonius.)

Stylistically this is a complex piece. It is a depiction of the Roman god Jupiter (Greek Zeus) in the early classical or severe style prevalent in Greece around 500 B.C. A Greek or Roman sculptor from a later era carved the piece. All the stylized features are arranged in strict symmetrical patterns, but they are softened by more naturalistic conventions. The strong idealism or classicism of the depiction attracted Bargue and Gérôme. The title of Trophonius relates Jupiter to an oracular Greek god whose ritual site was in Boetia, one of the republics of ancient Greece.

Plate I, 52. Lucius Junius Brutus. (Lucius Junius Brutus.)

This drawing is based on a cast ultimately derived from a fourth-century B.C. bronze bust in the Capitoline Museum in Rome (see fig. 16). This sculpture of an unidentified Roman has long been associated with Brutus, a legendary hero of the sixth century B.C. famous for killing Tarquinius, the tyrannical king of Rome (who had raped Brutus’s sister, Lucretia). This opened the way for the founding of the Roman republic, which lasted until Octavius declared himself Caesar Augustus, emperor of the Roman Empire, in 27 B.C. Brutus’s regicide made him a hero during the French Revolution. Casts of the bust, known as the Capitoline Brutus, were in academies and ateliers throughout France and Europe beginning in the early nineteenth century.

The direction of the light (as from a high window to one side) is similar to that of the other Brutus (see plate I, 50). The light, entering at a forty-five-degree angle, illuminates three-quarters of the face, leaving one side in shadow; an ideal light for revealing form. In Step 1, as in the other frontal portraits, the plumb line goes through the center of the face. The horizontals pass through the brows, the base of the nose, and the mouth. The shadow line is clear from head to neck—one line—again the result of a single light source. In Step 2 be careful with the transitions from shadow through halftones to light. The shadows start out solid, and become gradually more diffuse as they progress toward the light. There are few details of the hair in the shadow pattern.


 Plate I, 53. Young woman. Life cast. (Jeune femme. Moulage sur nature.) 

On life casts, see the commentary to plate I, 33 and note 17.

Step 1: Note that the central axis is not a plumb line; it is aligned with the slight tilt of the head. The two horizontal guidelines that frame the eyes are perpendicular to the axis line. These horizontals are perpendicular to a central axis that is not perpendicular but is aligned with the tip of the head. Another set goes through the nose and mouth. The light is more than a three-quarter light.

Step 2 is highly modeled, with many halftones and smooth transitions between shadows and halftones. Note that the nostrils depicted in the first step are lost here; they were used there to aid in the construction of the nose. The gradations from light to dark on the left side of the face are darker than those on the right, showing both the direction of the light and the pattern it makes across the face.

Note: It is a convention in posing women to use bright frontal lighting, which produces rounded forms and minimizes shadows.

Plate I, 54. Homer. (Homère.)

This beautiful bust (Greek, first century B.C.) is not an actual portrait of the mythical Greek poet of the eighth century B.C., but rather an idealized invention of the Hellenistic period. It was very popular in antiquity; several marble versions have survived (for a good example, see fig. 17). Because Homer was so revered in the nineteenth century, casts of the bust were in most ateliers and sculpture collections. It was used as the model for almost all nineteenth-century paintings depicting the fabled poet, as exemplified by Ingres’s The Apotheosis of Homer (L’Apotheose d’Homere) (1827) in the Louvre Museum in Paris and Bouguereau’s Homer and His Guide (Homere et son guide) (1874) in the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin. As the last in the series of head studies, this is fully developed in exemplary fashion.

Step 1 shows the placement of the plumb line through the middle of the face and the three horizontals through the features. The forms in the schema are blocked out in an angular fashion, showing the location or work space for the features rather than the actual forms.

Step 2 the fully modeled head is described with a limited range of values. Begin modeling your drawing with only two or three values. As the forms become more accurate, so will your description of subtle values. Working this way can help you relate smaller value changes to the larger patterns of light in the drawing.

Fig-17. Homer. (Homère.) Marble. 41 cm. (16 in.) First century B.C. Helen Lillie Pierce Fund, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.



Plate I, 55. The Belvedere Torso, rear view. (Le torse du Belvédère, vu de dos.)

This statue (ca. 50 B.C.) is signed Apollonius son of Nestor, Athenian, and is in the Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican Museums, Vatican City.

Despite being devoid of arms, lower legs, feet, part of the chest, as well as part of its buttocks (cut away to make it fit into a fountain niche), this statue has been famous since its rediscovery in the early 1400s. Acquired by a pope after 1506, the statue was put on display in the Belvedere courtyard of the Vatican (hence the name); now it is kept inside the museum, just off the courtyard. A favorite of Michelangelo, it was the inspiration for his superhuman male bodies. The torso is in a traditional pose for the resting Hercules (and consequently of other melancholic types like Saturn and Samson), but recently it has been suggested that the subject is Ajax resting, depressed after his fit of madness. Casts are fairly common, for the work is greatly admired down to this day (see fig. 18 and plate I, 63).

Ancient practice seems to have had a different physical type for each of the four humors, the basis of both ancient medicine and psychology: Jupiter was the sanguine type, Mars the choleric type, Neptune the phlegmatic type, and Hercules and Saturn the melancholic type. (The sixteenth-century Milanese writer Cian Paolo Lomazzo added a choleric-melancholic type to accommodate Apollo.) In the late Renaissance this system of humors was sometimes used to aid in the comprehension of a history painting, that is, the painter would paint—and the reader could interpret the reactions of the participants in a scene according to their recognizable physic ; types or temperaments. You need not learn this system, but you should be aware of the individual traits of these idealized types when you copy ancient works and study them. (It might interest you to know that the popular types of astrological personalities or temperaments—the signs-are ultimately based on the four humors and their combinations.)

Most of the casts presented from now on are fully modeled and lack a suggested schema. schemata that are provided (see plates I, 56, 58, 60) should be studied first to get an idea of how to approach such complex figures. The illumination of the Belvedere Torso from above emphasizes the halftones across the muscles. Step 1: Choose a plumb line, locate good points for the verticals, and trace in diagonals that define the Bargue lines (the straight lines that connect the major points and provide the first outline of the figure). Delineate in straight lines the position of the spinal cord. These lines will need to be refined in coordination with the development of the outline.


Plate I, 56. Male torso, back view. (Torse d’homme, vu de dos.)

This torso is the remnant of a full standing figure, probably an athlete or political hero. Stylistically it is in the tradition of the fifth-century B.C. Greek master Polykleitos, a sculptor who wrote a book on the proportions of the human body. This book is known only by its title and a few references to its contents in other ancient writings. Polykleitos was the sculptor of the famous Doryphorus, or Spearbearer, a lost bronze (ca. 450 B.C.) now known only through a small series of Roman marble copies in various museums (the best is in the National Archeological Museum in Naples). The Polykleitan male is elegantly proportioned, with clearly outlined, tense muscle forms that are simplified geometrically. This type became the ideal for the male body in antiquity and again in modem times (see plates 1, 61 and I, 68).

Step 1: The plumb line follows the spine along the shadow edge down to the lumbar, where it becomes independent in its descent but still passes through some good angles. It is probably the most useful reference line that you can find. The top horizontal is through the outside point of the left deltoid and the inner angle of the right deltoid. There is no horizontal for the bottom, but one should be supplied to remind you that the front lines of the base are not precisely horizontal. Plot the points for the other transversals carefully. Trace in the movement of the contrapposto  through the center of the body, down the spinal cord, while finding points for the transversals. The outline should be like that in the schema: all straight lines, with every important angle included. The shadow demarcation is very simple and is all done in straight lines.

Step 2: Two values of halftones supplement the shadows. There is some reflected light in large areas of the shadow. A very dark line has been drawn in the division of the buttocks. Straight lines in the small of the back invigorate the pose.

 Plate I, 57. Female torso, three-quarter view. (Torse de femme, vu de trois quarts.)

This unidentified torso is probably of a bathing Venus, similar to the type developed by Praxiteles in the fourth century B.C. No schema is given, so you are to develop it according to established practice. Try to maintain the simplicity of the finish, with its marginal shadows, restricted halftones, and large, clear areas.

Plate I, 58. Milo of Crotone, by Pierre Puget. (Milon de Crotone, de Pierre Puget.)

This is the most renowned statue by Pierre Puget (1620-1694), the most famous French sculpture during the reign of Louis XIV. It was sculpted between 1672 and 1679. By choosing an ancient hero as the subject of his sculpture, Puget meant to rival the sculptors of antiquity, and its inclusion here means that the editors thought he had succeeded. This is a partial cast of the complete work in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see fig. 19). Milo of Crotone was a famous Greek athlete of the sixth century B.C. While chopping firewood, his hand got caught in a log that he was attempting to split with his bare hands; trapped he was helpless when a pack of wolves emerged from the woods and attacked him. Despite specifications of ancient texts—which Puget certainly knew—a lion has been substituted for the wolves, perhaps to give Milo a less ignoble death and to associate the athlete with Hercules.

Step 1: The schema is a beautiful drawing by itself, clear and dramatic. It lacks a plumb line- instead, a central line follows the contrapposto of the body. Be careful as you establish the foreshortening of the eyes; brow, perforais, and abdominal muscles. Bargue continues to block in outsized shapes with long, straight lines that sometimes cover up anatomical details. He has put in some shadows in the head to help with the foreshortening of the nose-a good procedure for difficult constructions.

Step 2: The lighting is frontal; as a result, most anatomical details are described by faint halftones. The darkest tone is found just inside the shadow edge between the halftone and the shadow. Note the meandering nature of the darkest part; it follows the shadow edge and describes the rise and fall of the musculature.


Plate I, 59. The Vatican Amazon, draped. (Amazone du Vatican, drapée.)

The identification of this torso in the Vatican Museums, Vatican City, as an Amazon is no longer accepted; the work is a variant of the Hellenistic type sometimes described as a “Diana with Mantle Draped as a Sash,” a type of statue extant in many ancient examples. For us it is a splendid, well-preserved or well-restored model of ancient drapery. Work with the drapery as you did earlier with hair: divide it into segments, the folds into groups; let the longer lines describe the rhythmic fall of the folds.

Plate I, 60. Male torso, three-quarter view. (Torse d’homme, vu de trois quarts.)

This is the same Polykleitan torso as in Plate I, 56, with the illumination from the same direction. The dramatic difference between the views demonstrates that any cast has multiple views for drawing exercises. Note that the plumb line has changed. The verticals, although similar, do not reinforce the anatomical structure as effectively as they did in the first drawing, although the shift of the contrapposto is well described. The rarified beauty of the outline in Step 2 contrasts dramatically with the modeled shadows of the back, which, in turn, contrast with the unified lights.

Plate I, 61. Theseus. (Thésée.)

This is an original Greek work from the east pediment of the Parthenon (447-432 B.C.), now in the British Museum in London. The figure is sometimes identified as Dionysus. Both this and the next statue were parts of greater compositions with a unifying story, tucked into a triangular temple pediment high above the public that viewed it. This great fragment sat on the shelf of the pediment down through the millennia, somewhat protected from the weather by the projecting cornice overhead.

The statue was dismounted and brought to London by Lord Elgin in 1803 where it immediately became a standard for the portrayal of the human body and was traditionally accepted as by the hand of the fabled sculptor Phidias, who actually was the superviser of the pedimental sculpture. Bargue made his lithograph after a drawing by Lecomte du Nouÿ (see note 58). He has ignored the roughness of the long-exposed surface, while at the same time neglecting to restore the parts detached by war and vandalism (see fig. 20). However, the stains on the marble were not evident on the cast from which the plate was drawn.

This is a good mid-fifth-century body, clear in proportions and geometrically simplified in its anatomical forms. The musculature is emphasized, it is firm, not relaxed, although it is slightly more supple than the Achilles of Plate I, 68. This is the first reclining figure in the course. You are presented with a finished cast drawing with overhead lighting. The central line of the statue is based on a half circle: up the right thigh, along the linea alba- the visible line through the center of the torso that separates the body into symmetrical halves, from the pit of the neck, between the perforais, through the center of the abdomen and the navel, down to the groin—through abdomen and chest, and up through the neck and head. Here you can see both the usefulness as well as the beauty of Greek geometrical simplification.

Refined Greek taste is seen in the general idealization: the body surfaces are simplified; the muscles are clear-edged and do not overlap. These are characteristics of the good taste that Gérôme and Bargue have been trying to teach you plate by plate. In schematizing the drawing, erect verticals that divide the body into logical, workable sections. Find one or more plumb lines; work out the schematic lines between important points, and so forth.


Plate I, 62. Ilissos. (L’Ilissus.)

The original Greek sculpture from the west pediment of the Parthenon in Athens (447-32 B.C.) is in the British Museum in London. The time period given for the pediments is between the making of the contracts for both pediments and the last payment. The west pediment is usually considered to have been started after the east pediment, by artists of the next generation. Although still idealized, Ilissos is more naturalistic than Theseus. The fifth century was a period of rapid stylistic development in Greek sculpture.

As with the Theseus, the composition is based on a subtle circle. The muscles are not all taut and firm, as in the Theseus, but relaxed, moving away from the geometrical confines of the earlier sculpture and covered by a pliable skin. Under the right knee, a tendon cuts across two forms. (There are no tendons in the Theseus statue.) Your study of the leg of Plate I, 27 has prepared you for the left knee of Ilissos. To build a schema, start with a plumb line through the head. Building a triangle with the extremities as points (as in Plate I, 5 of the foot) might be helpful. Other vertical reference lines crossing through the triangle might help you determine additional angles.

Plate I, 63. The Belvedere Torso, front view. (Le torse du Belvédère, vu de face.)

This lithograph by Bargue is after a drawing by Lecomte du Nouÿ (see note 58). Look at the schema for Puget’s Milo of Crotone (Plate I, 58) for guidance. Find the plumb line and the organizing verticals. Then plot out the straight schematic lines. Check and recheck for accuracy: you have many details to put inside the outline, so it must be accurate for them all to fit intelligently. The light from above left emphasizes the halftones of the muscles, and every bit of the surfact is modeled. This is a very elaborate drawing. In fact, all the drawings at the end of the first part or the Drawing Course are very polished and highly finished, so do not rush them.

 Plate I, 64. Female torso, rear view. (Torse de femme, vu de dos.)

This seated Venus is again of the Praxitilean type, with large hips and thighs, geometric breasts like hemispheres, and areas of fat not yet rejected by modern standards for feminine pulchritude. Look at the schema for Male torso, rear view (Plate I, 60) to aid you in copying this drawing.

Complete Figures.


Plate I, 65. Knight. (Cavalier.)

Plate I, 66. Two knights. (Deux cavaliers.)

These two reliefs come from the Parthenon frieze in Athens; both are in situ in the frieze on the west end. When finished, the frieze extended some 160 meters (406 feet) around all four sides of the building; it was placed high up, under the protecting roof of the porch. Great portions of the frieze have survived: one fragment is in the Louvre Museum in Paris; many sections are in the British Museum in London; other panels are in the Acropolis Museum in Athens; and—miracuiously—some 30 meters are still in place on the building. Casts of the frieze exist in many art schools and academies, most likely having survived the twentieth-century neglect and destruction of casts because they hung out of the way, high up on the wall, or perhaps—one would like to think—because they were still admired. These are your first models of complete figures. As reliefs, they allow you to concentrate on the outlines and to study the subtle yet critical modeling. This is also a lesson in drawing the complete Phidian horse, with a head even more simplified than the horses’s head from the east pediment (see plates I, 37 and I, 47). Organize your drapery around the directional lines describing movement in the drapery and the specific points where it hangs and drops in simple folds.

Plate I, 67. Cincinnatus. (Cincinnatus.)

The subject of the statue, now identified as Mercury Tying His Sandal (Hermès rattachant sa sandale), is attributed to the School of Lysippus (ca. 330 B.C.; see fig. 21); the depiction of the thinking process through facial expression is thought to be an innovation of Lysippus, the great Greek sculptor of the fourth century B.C. This statue, which exists in two incomplete marble versions—the most famous of which is in the Louvre Museum in Paris—was probably a bronze of the late fourth century B.C. cast during the Hellenistic age, when sculptors were experimenting with movement and its effects on bodily structure. The statue was long interpreted by earlier scholars (who loved attaching stories to statuary) as the proverbially patriotic Cincinnatus (a Roman leader of the late sixth century B.C.) putting on his sandals after he has been told that he has been elected counsel of Rome and prepares to leave his farm for Rome to serve his country. It could just as easily he Hermes (Mercury) preparing for a flight, although the sandals are not winged (in any event, they are modern restorations), or it might be an athlete looking up to acknowledge a call as he prepares to enter the arena. The identification with Mercury is useful because the mercurial type of body is muscular but not buffed, sinewy rather than massive, and his frame is elongated and agile. Carefully note which muscles are tense and which relaxed.

Fig. 21. Cincinnatus (or Mercury Tying His Sandal). (Cincinnaius ou Hermès rattachant sa sandale.) Marble. 154 cm (60.5 in.) After a Greek original from the school of Lysippus, fourth century B.C. Louvre Museum, Paris.

 Plate I, 68. Achilles. (Achille.)

Now referred to as the Ares Borghese (ca. 430 B.C.), the statue is in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see fig. 22). In this perfect young male all the parts of the body we have studied separately are harmoniously integrated. Earlier archeologists dramatized the statue by seeing it in the image of Achilles, the greatest of the warriors of Greek legend. It is now identified as Ares (Mars), the god of war. This is a great example of post-Phidian Greek sculpture, showing the attributes of style assigned to Skopas and Polykleitos, still surviving on the Parthenon in the figure of Theseus (plate I, 61). The presence of the palm tree-like support is evidence that the marble was copied from a bronze (where one could have simply strengthened the walls of the leg to make it strong enough to stand). The original was probably carrying a bronze spear, an artifact now lost and here indicated by a plug. The muscles are clear and geometrically simplified in their boundaries (no overlappings), and the distortions are minor. If you have already drawn a thigh from a muscular model, you will recognize the accomplishment in the simplification of the figure’s upper legs. A memorable trait seems to be the groin line, intact from the lower edge of one lateral oblique to the other. But note the grace added to this otherwise somewhat dehumanized—if still erotic—body by an almost mysterious movement through the body engendered by the curve of the contrapposto stance.

Fig. 22. Achilles (Ares Borghese). (Achille ou Arès Borghèse.) ca. 430 B.C. Marble. 212 cm. (6 ft. 11. 25 in.) Louvre Museum, Paris.

Plate I, 69. Germanicus. (Germanicus.)

This statue is now identified as Marcellus, nephew of Augustus (ca. 20 B.C.). It is signed “Cleomenes, son of Cleomenes.” The original Roman statue is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris. We have already studied the left foot (plate I,10) and the right leg (plates I, 25 and I, 27). This is a rear view of a perfect man in the Greek style of the late fifth century B.C. The work is more supple in form and more complex in its musculature than the Achilles of the previous plate. We are given only the rear view to copy, although we have studied the right leg and the  left foot. Probably both Bargue and Gérôme thought that the individualized portrait head was incongruous with the idealized body (see fig. 11). The drapery support might indicate that the marble was copied from a bronze (which would not have needed such a support), but by the end of the first century B.C., when this work was sculpted, such supports may have become a standard accessory to marble originals. The small support between the figure’s right thumb and forefinger was probably meant to guard against breakage (perhaps at one time it was tinted black). This did not discourage earlier archeologists from seeing it as a die and interpreting the statue as “Mercury Casting a Die,” a common iconographie motif for the god.

Plate I, 70. Saint Martha. (Sainte Marthe.)

This unlocated statue, in the Late Gothic French style, was carved around 1500. Bargue made the plate after a study of the statue by Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864), several of whose drawings are reproduced in the second part of the Drawing Course. Around 1500 the medieval Gothic style persisted in France, as it did in most of Europe. It is hard for us to realize that in the first part of the fifteenth century the Italian Renaissance was still a minority movement in a few cities of Italy. French Late Gothic sculpture nevertheless had some of the intellectual traits of the Italian style, including better anatomical proportions (even under the drapery) and more naturalistic drapery; its folds were designed according to the weight of the fabric and not moved by a decoratively expressed spiritual power that obscured the body underneath, as in earlier Gothic sculpture. This courtly Late Gothic style, often called “détente style,” was the perfect model for the French Neo-Gothic movement of the early 1800s.

Flandrin made this study of the statue for his celebrated frieze in the Neoclassical church of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in Paris. He worked on the commission between 1848 and 1853. Saint Martha, clearly labeled, stands to the left side of the choir, the thirteenth figure from the altar. Her costume and attributes are the same; her gesture, however, is changed and the fall of her drapery has been simplified.Saint Martha appears in the Gospel of Luke (10:38-41 ); she is a diligent housekeeper in contrast to her more intellectual sister Mary. The two come to represent the active and the contemplative lives. In Jacopo da Voragine’s Golden Legend, a compendium of saints’ lives from the twelfth century, Saint Martha accompanies her brother, Saint Lazarus, on a mission to France. There she kills a dragon in Tarascon with holy water. Here she holds the handle of a broken aspergillum, an instrument for spreading holy water, and a vessel for the liquid—or perhaps it is just a water bucket symbolizing her domestic activities.

Saint Martha is entered into the course as a drapery model, perhaps to counter the seemingly realistic but highly agitated and stylized drapery of the Diana (The Vatican Amazon of plate I, 59.) Compared to the drapery of the Diana, this sober drapery obscures body parts, with gravity controlling its decorative role. Be aware of how the contrapposto affects the posture of the shoulders, hips, and legs; look for the points from which the drapery hangs. The right shoulder forms just such a hanging point for drapery, which falls over the transverse sash down to the foot of the play leg. The high breasts are also hanging points. Because there is so much detail to organize, the shadows must be mapped out carefully; otherwise the details will not fit in correctly.

praxis | Old Master Drawing Bargue-Gérôme Drawing Course I