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Thread: Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)

  1. #40
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megahuge thanks guys.. some of those drawings are amazing. And thanks for sharing your thoughts.. I've bookmarked this thread. again thanks..!
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  • #41
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    hummel1dane: thanks for posting these are you sure these are Bulgarian drawings though? I've seen most of these before, and it is my understanding that they're part of a drawing book published in the USSR in 1957.

    You can find it all here
    http://veda3d.com/edu/anatomy_drawing_book.htm

    Most of the former Soviet states have at least decent academic training, although it has started to die out in some quarters. I think the Lithuanian academy in Vilnius still has some good drawing standards, as do the academies in Armenia.


    Anyway, to contribute more to this thread, here are some later 19th century, very optical figure drawings by good Ol' Fortuny.
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)

    Also, some assorted Russian drawings from my hard drive...some are older, some are from the 40s and 50s.
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)

    Belousov in the 30s
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)

    Orest Kripensky, amazing...
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3368/...612418c6_o.jpg

    Hmmm, this Surikov fellow has Moscow's academy named after him...I guess he's ok
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)

    Also some work from the old South Kensington schools, like the Slade and the Norwich school, in Britain at the time that Alfred Munnings was a student.

    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)


    Munnings' first study at Julians
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)


    Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy...note that there is NO sight size


    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)
    Realism vs construction(a guide to choosing the right art education)


    ALLLLSO, if anyone is interested in the form of impressionism that flourished under the soviet system, check out this site http://www.leningradschool.com/
    there are some great, light-filled paintings in there. I think you have to go to the sidebar and click exhibitions or search artists to see it.

    Best,

    -Ramon
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  • #42
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    Thanks man - about the Bulgarian drawings - I'd assume they are Bulgarian, I got them from a guy at Angel art school who studied a bit at the school in Sofia, he told me they are from his school.
    It is possible the school in Sofia acquired some original russian masterdrawings as examples. But many academical drawings look similar.

    Oh yes - checked the link - it says drawings from leading soviet schools - the academy in Sofia were one of those, so at least some of the drawings are probably from Sofia.

    I can ask the person who gave them to me
    Last edited by hummel1dane; June 18th, 2009 at 01:41 AM.
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  • #43
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    Student drawings from "The drawing academy"

    These are all student drawings from the drawing academy, probably done by people studying for 3-12 months. I think all are 6-9 hour drawings.
    http://www.animwork.dk/Default.asp?ID=655
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  • #44
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    Brilliant thread
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  • #45
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    Indeed.
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  • #46
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    Drawings from Boris Kazakovs class in Skt. Petersburg

    A lot of these drawings were done by Mads Peter who now teaches at "the drawing academy"

    The last one is a 3 hour portrait(more or less) done by Artem - who is the head instructor at "the drawing academy"
    Artem studied with Boris for many years, then graduated at the Repin and moved to Denmark to teach.
    [Edit] : Artem graduated at the Mukhina academy, the other big skt. Petersburg academy. Sorry for the mistake.
    Last edited by hummel1dane; January 31st, 2010 at 04:43 PM.
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  • #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchosimpson View Post
    He's talking about basic education for a painter, independently of things like ID, etc.

    The debate isn't between "realism" and "construction"....it's between an optical and a sculptural approach to drawing. The method taught in most ateliers is visual....it depends on copying the shapes of objects as they appear in the visual field of the retina....like a jigsaw puzzle of shapes.

    The sculptural method is largely focused on capturing the physical, tactile aspects of the subject....and understanding it three dimensionally.

    Also, the ateliers have a fraction of the teachings of the french academy. The french did not use sight size systematically, and they understood the planes/structure a lot better....that's why they could produce those huge history paintings, and the ateliers can't. Bridgman studied with Gerome, and I believe Vanderpoel studied with Boulanger...both advocate construction in their books.

    Also, the current crop of ateliers come from the Boston painters lineage. They didn't care for imaginative paintings (think Veronese, or Tiepolo) and were very much focused on painting the visual field.

    Like you said, you need both sides to have complete training. I'm a student of Vilppu, but am also looking to study with a Florence trained painter to get both sides.

    I look forward to future posts in this thread, this is a promising discussion.

    -Ramon
    Since this post, a lot more info has been added but I do wanted to respond to this in particular Ramon. I hope you don't mind.
    Good thread btw, I'm very impressed by some of the drawings posted.

    What I am largely noticing is that people in general and in this thread seem to make a distinction between these 2 approaches (optical-sculptural, realist-construction) but do not question 1. whether those attributions are actually correct in their own sense and 2. whether there are teachings that do combine both approaches effectively. With the latter I'm thinking first and foremost about Ted Seth Jacobs. I'm not sure why exactly he is so often overlooked.

    Can the method used in for example the Florence ateliers rightfully be called 'visual' or 'optical' ? How you describe it seems quite correct but are those methods not in a way formulaic with a strong bias towards a classical, idealized aesthetic? (form in the shadow is heavily suppressed and flattened for example) Not really true to the 'optical' world per se? Does the lack of structure add to this observation? If not enough structural information is present then it doesn't look quite real, it goes hand in hand, as you said so yourself.

    But, can the same not be said about many schools that focus on anatomy/construction? Are the simplified geometric forms to conceive and generalize a human body structurally true to human form? Or true to how we perceive it? Does the encyclopedic knowledge of human anatomy help our level of draftsmanship or does it ingrain another set of symbols that prevent us from seeing the uniqueness of the individual under very specific and unique circumstances?

    I totally agree that students after committing themselves to their training should question what they learned. This is the only way to build upon what is already there. At the same time being able to do so may prove to be quite difficult. We often defend our teachers and the methods we have made our own. Dirty old cognitive dissonance is in the way again! And it is understandable.

    When I asked Ted a while ago what he felt for him was the most challenging thing about painting he replied: "... Putting in more and more structural information without losing the unifying actions of light within the whole visual field" This very much rings with the initial concerns and observation expressed in this thread.Ted Jacobs built upon what he had received and came up with a set of ideas that combine both approaches, yet presented in a very different manner. For example 'structure' is not explained by anatomical or geometric descriptions but rather presented in a way so that it is not limited to human or animal form but can apply to all organic form ( humans, animals, plants, flowers, trees, mountains, drapery, etc etc... ). And it can be used to identify forms to an almost granular level where they become un-identifiable by anatomical names.

    Here's a link to a couple of pages on the ARC website of his book on structure that is waiting to be released but has experienced some delay recently : http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2002/Dictionary/form1.asp

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    www.tomvandewouwer.com

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  • #48
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    excellent post, very informative ... but yet to be concluded..
    from what I can gather the Art Students League is the place you consider to combine both approaches, and offer a more rounded education..?

    A contemporary artist who work well with light and structure is Michael Grimaldi, and the Janus Collaborative School of Art where he teaches seems to offer a very diverse curriculum, ticking all boxes mentioned in the thread.

    '- Linear Perspective
    - Constructive Anatomy
    - Structural Drawing I : the application of perspective and anatomy to the expression of the human figure
    - Structural Drawing II : the study of movement, rhythm and the effects of gesture on anatomical structure
    - Analysis of Light Phenomena
    - Color Theory
    - Elements of Design and Composition (theoretical and practical)
    - Short Pose Drawing and Painting
    - Portraiture
    - Methods and Materials
    - Sculpture/Ecorché'

    It's curious to compare the Academy figure studies of an artist such as Degas/ or even Sargeant to those at schools where sight size is taught today worldwide. I personally find a lot more (optical) truth and structure in these drawings completed over a century ago.

    (sorry to lack supporting images can anybody help by posting the student drawings of degas or jss?)

    A major difference in Art education compared to then and now is the attention paid to anatomy within our figurative art schools. Have a look through 'Figure du Corps' - review available on this website http://www.beardedroman.com/?p=447
    From what I have heard, The Florence Academy of Art offers no tuition in quicker drawing at all! Focusing only on LONG poses and cast drawing.

    Personally, I am finding Robert Beverly Hale's Drawing With The Master and Terrence Coyle's Anatomy with the Masters really helpful..as well as Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy, and all Bridgeman very very helpful

    also.. just found this drawing http://www.bacaa.org/uploaded_images/Chris-756191.jpg

    may be Dan Thomspon...brilliant.


    great drawings on this page
    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3D18%26um%3D1


    and augustus john's are also brillaint

    sorry if i am making no sense, have a cold and am pretty tired!
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  • #49
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    Can the method used in for example the Florence ateliers rightfully be called 'visual' or 'optical' ? How you describe it seems quite correct but are those methods not in a way formulaic with a strong bias towards a classical, idealized aesthetic? (form in the shadow is heavily suppressed and flattened for example) Not really true to the 'optical' world per se? Does the lack of structure add to this observation? If not enough structural information is present then it doesn't look quite real, it goes hand in hand, as you said so yourself.
    Tom,


    It is optical in the sense that it is predicated on copying the visual field (the image on the retina caused by the light rays), as a set of two dimensional shapes, not necessarily because it presents information exactly as our eye sees it. It can look real because it copies the visual evidence of structure, my problem with it is that said structure if often not properly understood.

    Moreover, the ateliers are far from what I would consider "classical", and if the surface is in fact simplified, I don't think it has to do with an aesthetic appreciation for a certain ideal. The simplifications one often encounters in work done from the optical point of view are often done in the interest of preserving the unity of the impression, or the big effect.

    Moreover, art is art, not real life. All manners of painting have relied on conventions of some kind or another...even the most naturalistic interpretations of nature, and these are conventions that we accept.

    The things we paint and draw ARE in fact, symbols, although they are very sophisticated ones at that. This has to do with the notion that art is a means of communication, and the representation of reality is of service to art insofar as the intended message is conveyed. Having an understanding of anatomy does not entail that every figure would be drawn in exactly the same way, every time. Just because we understand that we each have a nose, with the same basic structures, does not mean that we think all noses look exactly the same. The simple forms are useful because humans make extensive use of analogical thinking...we understand difficult concepts in terms of simpler ones.

    I didn't include Ted's approach in the discussion, because it doesn't have as much in the way of historical background as the other approaches do. There is evidence of geometric constructive approaches to drawing dating to the 1500s (Holbein comes to mind), gestural, anatomical drawings that do not show explicit use of geometric forms go back even further (Michelangelo). Optical drawings with an intensive focus on the visual field go back to at least the 1830s.

    I think Ted's teaching is admirable in the sense that he has tried to combine both approaches. However, I am uncomfortable with any method that is so wholly guided the by one man's vision and particular inclinations. Even though he and his students claim to reject all manner of formulas and conventions...drawings from that school have a sort of lumpy look that is the result of looking for so many subforms. I would counter that students would be looking for subforms of this kind even when they can barely see them...so a way of seeing is being imposed subconsciously as well. The biggest drawback is that it leads to an obsessive preoccupation with the surface and sacrifices broadness of vision (which was much valued by the Ecole, and later by Dumond. It is my understanding this was one of the theories that Ted discarded later on)

    That being said, I think he has produced many good draftsmen, but I think you're setting up his approach as somehow superior to the others (i.e. the other two approaches are formulaic, this one isn't) when that is not necessarily true. I mean, understand the desire to expand the vocabulary of art, and not just rehash the same kind of work done before. However (at least for my taste) the vocabulary of art became as perfect as I would like it to be a long time ago. On a purely personal note, I think our time is better spent trying to express new messages with the existing tools....because I firmly believe the communication part of it is the important bit.

    -Ramon
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  • #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchosimpson View Post
    I think Ted's teaching is admirable in the sense that he has tried to combine both approaches. However, I am uncomfortable with any method that is so wholly guided the by one man's vision and particular inclinations. Even though he and his students claim to reject all manner of formulas and conventions...drawings from that school have a sort of lumpy look that is the result of looking for so many subforms. I would counter that students would be looking for subforms of this kind even when they can barely see them...so a way of seeing is being imposed subconsciously as well. The biggest drawback is that it leads to an obsessive preoccupation with the surface and sacrifices broadness of vision (which was much valued by the Ecole, and later by Dumond. It is my understanding this was one of the theories that Ted discarded later on)

    That being said, I think he has produced many good draftsmen, but I think you're setting up his approach as somehow superior to the others (i.e. the other two approaches are formulaic, this one isn't) when that is not necessarily true. I mean, understand the desire to expand the vocabulary of art, and not just rehash the same kind of work done before. However (at least for my taste) the vocabulary of art became as perfect as I would like it to be a long time ago. On a purely personal note, I think our time is better spent trying to express new messages with the existing tools....because I firmly believe the communication part of it is the important bit.

    -Ramon
    Good post Ramon. And I can understand the criticism.
    I'm often a little hesitant to reply when Ted is discussed because those discussions have the tendency to gather a lot of heat.. and also because I don't want to distract too much from the original topic in this instance.

    But I do want to say that 'broadness of vision' is definitely not something that Ted discarded. In fact it is an extremely important aspect! Refer to the quote again that I posted.
    It is what is often referred too as 'the effect' that he discarded. A typical 19th century method of lighting your picture where the painting is treated gradually darker the further away from the intended focal point. Bouguereau's 'Venus' painting is an example. Basically a compositional tool. Another way of guiding the viewer's eye.
    It just does not correspond to the observed effects of light that we see in Nature, that's all.
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  • #51
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    Jrp : That drawing you linked too is by Darren Kingsley, not Dan Thompson.
    Here's his website: http://www.darrenkingsley.com/
    www.tomvandewouwer.com

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  • #52
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    I cant say i have much knowledge of these russian artists but I am in awe of them. I got this book on some russian drawings.. ( i assume they are.. i have no idea how to translate the chinese names to english names even though I can read the chinese characters)

    Sorry for the crappy photo. I dont have a proper light setup and no scanner...
    -JS Neo

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