Thursday, 21 May 2015

Drawing the Figure: Constructing Versus Copying.

Michael Whynot. Figure studies. Red chalk.

Michelangelo. Study of a Seated Young Man.


There are two separate paths on which the draftsman can travel on their journey toward drawing the figure. You can think of them as constructing versus copying; line versus mass; 3-dimensional versus 2-dimensional. But what it comes down to, is that there are two different ways of seeing form.

Michelangelo appeared to take an analytical, constructionist approach to drawing his forms, whereas Degas seemed to utilize the approach of copying the flat, 2-dimensional shapes he saw before him. While either approach can lead to fine drawings, I would argue that Michelangelo's approach creates drawings with more depth and movement or life.

I have chosen to pursue the constructionist approach with my drawings. The differences between the two approaches is often subtle and I continue to explore and trace the many nuances in reasoning that Michelangelo's mind may have followed that led to his particular way of seeing. His image of himself a a sculptor, as opposed to a painter, intrigues me; but Degas was, also, a sculptor and a painter, although I am uncertain which of the two he viewed himself to be. The mindset needed by the sculptor, the spatial vision required to deal with forms in space may be an area worth pursuing. Drawing is a path with many turns.