Saturday, October 25, 2008

Antique Statuary from the Gallery of Florence

Before figure drawing students began drawing from models they drew from copies of antique statuary. These copperplate prints are from a book published in four volumes between 1789 and 1804 which cataloged the art work in the Gallery of Florence.
The book is called Tableaux, statues, bas-reliefs et camées de la galerie de Florence et du palais Pitti. by Jean-Baptiste Joseph Wicar; Louis Joseph Masquelier; Claude Louis Masquelier; Antoinne Mongez. It was listed by Abebooks as one of the ten most expensive books sold in 2007.

You can search for a copy yourself at Use the search terms "Tableaux, statues, bas-reliefs de la galerie de Florence".

Occassionally individual prints show up on Ebay.
Three volumes of the original four sold at auction for $17.00 here is a description from American Book Prices Current, a record of books etc. sold at auction in New York, Boston and Philadelphia in 1917. "GALERIE. Galerie de Florence. Tableaux, Statues, Bas- reliefs et Camées, de la Galerie de Florence et du Palais Pitti. Dessinés par Wicar. avec les explications par Mongrez. Paris, 1789-1804. 4 vols., fol. Hf. cf., une. (in 3 vols., a few plates stained), Hirsch, A.,Oct. 19, '16. (223) $17.00."

An unillustrated Catalogue de la R. Galerie de Florence in which you can find descriptions of these works is at Google Books.
A reprint of a similar catalog, or perhaps a later edition of the same catalog is available at Galerie Impériale et Royale de Florence.

For more about the proportions of the human body as revealed by a study of antique statuary see my ebook The Sculptor and Art Student's Guide to the Proportions of the Human Form or the same book as a printed book The Art Student's Guide to the Proportions of the Human Form.

Here is an example of an artist drawing from published sources contrasted with drawing from life. The drawing pictured is a copy of Plate II. from The Art Student's Guide to The Proportions of the Human Form. Next to it is a detail of Plate II from the book that he used to draw from, the details are line drawings showing the proportions demonstrated by the antique statues of Niobe's Daughter, the Venus de Medici, and Faustina.

The website where his work appears is: The Art of Carl von Marr: Self-Discipline and Nuance.

For a description of the transition from drawing from casts and printed examples to drawing from life you can check out my ebook: How to Draw the Human Figure - The Figure Drawings of Grace A. Young as an ebook, or How to Draw the Human Figure as a printed book.

Or other histories of drawing in Philadelphia:

Another book that encompasses a complete couse of learning to draw and is largely about drawing from the cast is Charles Bargue et Jean-Leon Gerome. Cours de dessin. Here is an interesting review of the book: Charles Bargue Drawing Course.
Another link: Patricia's Palette Charles Bargue: Learn to draw, learn to see.
Another link from a blogger who is drawing from the book: The Devil's Red Rose.

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