Josep Maria Sert (1874-1945) was a Catalan muralist whose epic works grace the walls of the League of Nations in Geneva and the Waldorf Astoria and Rockefeller Center in New York.
Many of his compositions teem with artistic groupings of larger-than-life figures.
To gather information, he posed human models, but he also constructed elaborate tableaus of small mannikins or maquettes. These little groupings gave him scope to try things that might be impossible with real humans.
He used rods to hold them in position. He dressed some in little costumes to figure out the clothes.
Mannikins only give a rough approximation of a real figure, but they're often a helpful starting point. Sert started drawing and refining right over the photographs. The grid helps him transfer the pose accurately to any scale.
For scenes of storms at sea, he sculpted waves from clay, and placed model boats into them.
Josep Maria Sert (He also goes by the Spanish name José María Sert y Badía)
Thanks to Jim Vadeboncoeur for telling me about this guy!
Book: José Maria Sert : La rencontre de l'extravagance et de la démesure
Related GJ posts:
Scaling up with a grid