Monday, 27 August 2012

On Michelangelo's Shoulders

Study of a Seated Young Man and Two Studies of the Right Arm
Michael Whynot (after Michelangelo)

"If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

There is a long tradition going back to the renaissance of copying after master drawings by students as a way of learning the art of drawing. With the resurgence in interest in realistic and representational draftsmanship, we need to reacquaint ourselves with these methods from the past. Drawing from classical casts as a way to understand form and light, drawing from the live nude as a way to internalize the infinite gestures of men, and copying after master drawings as a means of understanding how a master sees.

I cannot speak with these long-dead masters, cannot pick their brains for their secrets, but I can hold onto their hands as they draw across time; I can still see through the master's eyes.