Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to Draw - Drawing from Casts

Johann Daniel Preissler's book on human proportions was based on his study of antique statuary.

Drawing from casts of the antique remained an essential part of any art education through the early 20th century. (My book How to Draw the Human Figure: The Drawings of Grace Young
describes the switch from drawing from casts to drawing the figure in one Philadelphia art school)

The images here are from a book of photographs of drawing done by students at the National Academy of Design in New York City ( in 1871-1872. You can see the care the students put into this work which was an important part of their education.

Another example of drawing from the cast, assumed to be a 19th century French example.

An example of a drawing of the Aphrodite of Milo, better know as Venus de Milo, thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch.

Brussels School, 19th Century.

Cast Drawing Using the Sight-Size Approach at

Lessons on Shading

Charles Bargue wrote a well known and well used book on drawing which was based on the study of classical casts, and progressed from casts, to examples of master drawings to drawing from the living model. A show of the complete set of engravings was mounted at the Dahesh Museum of Art.

Charles Bargue and Jean-Leon Gerome: Drawing Course

Charles Bargue et Jean-Leon Gerome. Cours de dessin (French Edition)

Some other examples:


Model drawing and shading from casts; a complete guide to the elementary and advanced examinations in these subjects;

Another example signed J. L. Lund, classic Danish academic drawing. Johan Ludwig Gebhard Lund was a professor at the Danish Academy.

A plaster cast in the style of Polykleitos from the Wilcox Classical Museum of the University of Kansas.

Elmil Jean Kosa, Jr. Academic Study, 1927

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