Bargue Drawings Day 1

Charles Bargue was an artist and in the late 1800s, he created a series of 197 lithograph plates that comprised a basic drawing course in the French academies. Copying these 2D plates was the standard for centuries and according to the Angel Academy, even Picasso and Van Gogh copied these plates in their early training.

I will have to complete a series of these Bargue drawings accurately through a specific method taught by the Angel Academy and each drawing will become increasingly more complex before I will be able to move onto the next phase, drawing from 3D plaster casts.

In the photo below you will notice a red thread taped to the board. In the first step, you find the plumb line that passes through the most amount of points in the center of the Bargue drawing and mark it by taping a red thread along that line. A line is then drawn with a 2B pencil down the center of my Canson Mi-Tientes paper on the right to imitate the red thread plumb line. A sheet of sketch paper lines the Canson paper underneath to eliminate showing any texture from the wood grain as I draw. Since it is typically humid in Florence, both sheets of paper are taped down generously to deter any bucking or moving of the paper.

With another red thread, I measure the height of the foot using the plumb line as a guide and carefully mark the top and the bottom points on the plumb line on the paper. You must take this same measurement several times, going back and forth from the plate to your drawing, in order to make sure that it is accurate. You can easily stretch the thread, not hold the thread tight enough or drop the thread or the pencil while trying to make these marks on your paper. If your point is a millimeter off, it is not accurate enough. These two marks indicating the actual height of the foot at the top and bottom are the most important because these two points become the basis of measurement for the entire drawing. The plumb line also helps with taking horizontal measurements.

The proportion will be one to one using what is called the sight-size measurement and its purpose is to train the eye and the hand and to create the illusion of three-dimensions. This will also later help with drawing from life. If you look really close, you will see a few dots on the page on the right. Your dots should also be very light or they will stick out like a sore thumb in your finished drawing later. Everyone morning, Monday through Friday, I will be working on the Bargue drawings. I will post another drawing update as I get further along. Ciao!

The start of my first Bargue drawing.

The start of my first Bargue drawing.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.