Learning from ancient masters

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Our bones forever in stone
Monuments of life
To dust, as everything must
We fade away in time, oh

Just two ordinary people you and me
Time will turn us into statues eventually
Foo Fighters — Statues

In the last few weeks, I attended a sketching course which took place in a museum consisting of (copies of) ancient Greek and Roman statues. Each week we chose a different statue to draw, and we learned a bit about the portrayed person (in case it was some mythological figure) and some general things to keep in mind while sketching, like contrapposto. It was much fun, and here I just wanna show you the results.

The first thing we did was drawing a 3 meter high statue depicting Heracles (=Hercules), a copy of the Farnese Hercules. The head looks pretty tiny, but indeed the ancient Greek sculpturers made “too small” heads, it was the beauty standard of that time.

Next, we could choose one of three amazons. I chose an amazon of type Sciarra/Lansdowne. The torso is a bit too “male”, but I like the drapes of the dress.

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My favorite is two views on Amor & Psyche, an amorous couple. I particularly like the back view, which I did in less than half an hour. The lecturer suggested to emphasize some darker lines and areas, and I liked the result and emphasize contours with darker lines more consciously now.

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On the last session, I was fast enough to finish 4 sketches.  I started with another famous statue, the Discobolus of Myron. It was a bit tricky to get the proportions right, as you can see from the leftover right feet. It is a bit stylized, but I’m happy with the result. The Charioteer of Delphi was my next motive. I was somehow attracted by the drapes of his dress, they were so “regular”, the deep shadows were attention-getting. Finally I sketched two different, but similar kneeling fragments. The first with a cloth over the legs so that I could again try my luck on drapes. And the last one neither had feet, nor arms, nor a neck, and only fragments of a head, so I started with the existing fragments (in black), and added limbs (in orange). This whole last sketch was done in less than 10 minutes, and I used fineliners. Now he looks like an acrobat on a rope :)

Conclusion: It was much fun, and I might visit that museum again on my own to do some more sketches. By the way, only by looking it up for this post I realized that those statues belong to the “who’s who” of ancient sculptures.


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