Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ring Job

In case you need to draw somebody falling off a horse or flying through the air, you can suspend them from large metal rings hanging from a roof beam in your studio.

Cool idea. Can’t say I’ve tried that yet.
From "Artists' Models in New York," by Charlotte Adams, The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume 25,  page 569.

Previously on GJ: Painful Poses


Julia Lundman said...

I recently took a course with a great sculptor, Andrew Cawrse, who told me that famous sculptor Richard MacDonald works with dancers who perform for the Cirque de Soleil. MacDonald uses a special fabric that the circus performers use for training purposes; you can only buy in Las Vegas (apparently) and also off shore - it is an incredibly strong silk that is made specifically for the purpose of acrobatic training and can hold several people at a time without tearing. The cloth (i have no idea what it is called) is strung up in his studio beams so he can pose models in difficult and extreme positions to help hold up arms and backs if leaning back, etc. If you look at the sculptures on his website you can see how there is no way a model could possibly hold these poses unless they had a little help!

Cool stuff!

Anonymous said...

I suspect historically the most common approach was to position the models lying down and then view from an unusual perspective such as from above.

Smurfswacker said...

I'm interested by the ring that seems to go through the model's head. Bet that relieved most of the effort of holding his head still. Tricky to install, though.

अर्जुन said...

An anecdote cut from~ The Captains and the Kings by Henry Haynie, (available via google books)

Once a few of Edouard Detaille's friends were invited by him to a luncheon on the anniversary of his birthday. Of great painters there were present Jules Lefebvre, Benjamin Constant, Chaplin, and Henner; but there were also more humble mortals among the guests. Bouguereau was invited, but he excused himself on the plea of work to do. Breakfast over and cigars finished, some one proposed a call on the absent master and friend of all; so into carriages we clambered, by and by we entered the studio of the Rue Notre Dame des Champs, and there was Bouguereau with a nude male-model in pose. When they had told him of the dtjeuner, and how they all regretted his absence therefrom, those men of genius began to tease and plague Bouguereau. "Pshaw! he thinks he can paint; poor man!"
"Why, he even imagines he can draw!" "Look at those canvases — how amateurish!" " Here, Edouard, show William how to draw!" and so on. Now Detaille is also noted for the excellence of his drawing ; and, entering into the spirit of the fun, he stepped up to the easel, gently pushed Bouguereau to one side, laid on a large, clean sheet of white paper, and with a crayon began. In the centre of the paper he quickly drew the head of a cavalryman. Next, at one corner near the bottom of the paper, he drew the hind hoof of a horse; then, higher up, but on the left, he drew a horse's nose; and then, in a few minutes, without having to erase a single stroke, he completed the man for whom he already had a head, and showed him seated on the horse for which he already had a hoof and nose.
Every one, Bouguereau alone excepted, applauded Detaille's masterful skill, but our host said nothing. Instead, he made a sign to his model to take a pose. He laid on a clean sheet of paper, took up a crayon, and then, without once taking the point of it from the paper, he traced the outline of the model's entire body, with his face in profile. It was perfect drawing; and when he laid down the pencil those famous painters all stood up, bowed to Bouguereau, and exclaimed "Master!"

Roberto said...

This is a very fun story, but I notice none of these ’men of genius’ attempted to execute their drawings upside down, let alone with both-hands simultaneously!
(I am surprised and pleased when my portraits don’t resemble Mr. Potato-Heads and my horses don’t look like Marmaduke. Practice, practice, practice!) -RQ