Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Chester French’

Daniel Chester French, (1870-1931) came out of the Beaux Arts decades which came out of the Renaissance which came from the ancient Greeks.  We love all that:  contrapposto, balance, measured grace, serenity, idealization of the feminine form.  You’ll find this lovely figure in the sculpture court in the Rice Building at the Chicago Art Institute.

For my drawing class, we have a model who knows her art history and often presents us with poses that embody all those well-loved characteristics I just enumerated.  Students are pleased when they have the chance to make a drawing that hooks into our western tradition of the beautiful.  That is, before modernism threw out the concept of beauty.  If you’ve had a chance to read some earlier posts here  dealing with the concepts from modernism that I keep introducing in class (you may be reading “pushing” here instead of “introducing”)  I need to remind you that I like to work both ends of the continuum. I really do share my students’ love of drawing “well,”  that is, in the classical mode.  Here’s one drawing I did recently from our model in class as I sat between two students who watched the drawing develop.  (Charcoal pencil, about fifteen  minutes.)   It’s very satisfying to slip into the 16th century and the 1890’s to draw in this idealized mode.

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