Friday, December 5, 2008

How to Draw People - Johann Daniel Preissler

Johann Daniel Preissler was a painter and engraver born in 1666 in Nuremberg, the city to which his family moved from Bohemia after the thirty years war. He studied in Italy for 8 years and in 1704 became the director if the Nürnberger Malerakademie, the first Academy of its kind in Germany.

He painted mainly portraits and biblical scenes and is now probably best known for his work about life drawing titled, Die durch Theorie erfundene Practic, oder Gründlich-verfasste Reguln (The theory invented by practice, or Multiple-authored Rules) based on studies and analysis of the works of master of painting, and which also included sections on flowers, ornaments and landscape.

The book remained the major source work for art students learning to draw figures for generations of painters including Caspar David Friedrich, and was translated into several languages.

According to the History and Bibliography of Artistic Anatomy By Boris Röhrl, Preissler's book was a translation of the Anatomia del Pitori, and was printed in eight editions making it the most successful anatomy book in the German language.

Johann Daniel Preissler on Ebay
You can search for a copy at Use the search terms "Johann Daniel Preissler," or "Die durch Theorie erfundene Practic."

Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice

You can see the whole book for free at Google Books, and you can download a pdf file of this valuable figure drawing book.

Examples of some of the engravings for artists to study from the book, the head in perspective, how to draw mouths, construction of the head, how to draw eyes, how to draw ears, construction of a figure, study of the anatomy of age progression.

These engravings by Johann Daniel Preissler from 1765 are for sale at the store Tuscany Books.

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