Saturday, October 10, 2020

Gérôme Study of an Angel

Here's a pencil study by Jean Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) of a model with drapery . 

The study is very carefully observed, but it's surely not a copy of what he saw. Instead he edited the forms to fit with his sense of flow and make it look right for an angel. Most academic studies were propelled by narrative choices away from literal truth.

He probably executed another study of the nude figure, and traced the hands, face, and feet from that study as a basis for this one.

The sketch was a gift to one of his students, illustrator André Castaigne.
Books on Gerome
Jean-Leon Gerome 


Howard Lyon said...

Beautiful! I wonder if this was from a mannequin wrapped in drapery or a live model? Do we know if Gerome used mannequins much? Tricky pose if from a live model though not prohibitively so. The fabric around the shoulder is especially incredible. As someone who has spent many frustrating hours trying to pose fabric on models to get something like this, I am especially appreciative of Gerome's editing and draftsmanship. :)

It's a beautiful drawing and looking at it was a great way to start the day. Thank you!

James Gurney said...

Howard, yes, very likely this drapery was put around a full size or half size mannequin. In E.A. Abbey's biography, Lucas described the way Abbey would use thin fabric on a mannequin, if I recall it was soaked in some sort of plaster, and they used some sort of wired pigeon wings for the angel wings.

The figural pose would have been done separately from a real model most likely. If the pose was not possible to hold in its entirety, it could have been done in parts. I could imagine you doing this, Howard!

Anne Shingleton said...

Thankyou James, again!

Interesting to compare the two approaches of drawing angels and their drapery between Gerome and Potormo.
This beautiful fresco is in Florence, very near the central Ponte Vecchio.
Also interesting how Pontormo changed the final painted fresco from the drawing, giving more movement, levity and flow.