This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
(Concluded from page II.)
The work that remains to be clone on our bust is simply drawing," said the Professor, "and before we proceed to another stage, let me impress on you how all-important this drawing is in modelling. Indeed, sculpture is drawing - or nearly all drawing. A child will mould clay or wax so as to make it look something like a given model; hut when the first simple stages are passed it would require an artist to develop it into a work of sculpture. This would be accomplished wholly by drawing.
"To return to our bust. Our drawing will be not only from the direct profile views, the three-quarter views, and so forth, but also from underneath."
The Professor stooped and for some minutes in silence worked on the bust from below.
"It is especially from these underneath views," he went on to say, "that we obtain the right sections of the head. It is by these means we avoid giving the face an appearance of flatness, and secure, instead, strength and accuracy in the construction. A painter who takes to modelling generally neglects this consideration; he applies his power of drawing more to the profile than to the underneath views, with the result that a painter's sculpture almost invariably is more or less flat.
"That great artist, Ingres, said, 'Le dessin est la probite de part' - drawing is honesty in art. What honesty is to mankind, so drawing is to art. Nothing is truer, because in a piece of sculpture, no matter what, if the drawing is bad - although by tricks of modelling or texture a certain agreeable impression may have been secured - the result cannot retain our interest, and that first agreeable impression will gradually disappear and give place to a feeling akin to disdain.
"It has been sometimes said about painting that colour is quite as essential as drawing. I think that is a mistake, because only drawing can give character expression to a figure or to a head.
"In sculpture, as we have not the advantage of colour, drawing is all the more important. Therefore, in their studies from life, students of sculpture must avoid drawing with charcoal, for with such a medium of expression they will find it impossible to be precise enough; they will feel tempted to try for "effect"; they will not be able to follow the forms in all their movements of surfaces so well as with the pencil. Drawing with charcoal can be employed with advantage in design; for a composition is more or less a question of a momentary feeling, the feeling which we cannot be sure of keeping long, and the quickest way of giving expression to it is the best. But for study from life - I am speaking to the modeller - working with the pencil obliges us to observe more carefully what we have to represent; each stroke of the pencil will have a meaning, indicated by its special direction - there will be no flat tints without expression.
"Drawing, in the study of modelling, is a means of studying the parts which enter into the composition of a figure; it is a way of making ourselves more familiar with a pose or with the character of form given by our model.
"By drawing we learn our lesson. We penetrate into the movement of forms as well as into the character and type of them. Then, when we have, by that sort of dissection, understood well the 'raison d'etre' anatomically, scientifically, of every point we have to represent, we shall have gained confidence in our conception and strength in the execution of our work in its sculptural form.
"Dalou, the great sculptor, once said to me: 'We must learn our lesson before we recite it in public.' That is to say, we must not definitely execute anything until we have, by the aid of the pencil, satisfied ourselves that we exactly understand what it is we have to represent.
"So, drawing means the careful observation of relative proportions, as well as of the delicate movements of forms given by the direction of the bones and muscles underneath the skin. It also includes the relative proportions of the projecting points in the outlines. It is these projecting points in outline which give the character, which arrest the attention of the spectator and speak to him.
"A straight line has no more expression than a round one, for the reason that the eye follows it in all its length without anything to stop it. The straight lines can be only employed to find the general direction of a contour, but as soon as we have found it, we must find the angles given by projections on the contour, and above all the reason for them. If we do not understand very accurately their anatomical reason, we work in the spirit of imitation, not in that of observation, which is the real study, and the only way to progress."
Returning to the bust, the Professor remarked: "We have also to work by shadows, light,and halt tints. For this we have to turn our model and outwork so as to get for them the same effect of light. We shall find that if a shadow is too dark it is probably because that part is too hollow. Then we change our effect by turning the model (and our work) in quite a different direction. By doing this frequently, we shall gradually attain to the simplicity of the model."
Profile View of the Finished Bust, as now seen at the Royal Academy Exhibition. [For the Intermediate Stages of Development, see Arts & Crafts, No. 1.
Second Profile View of the Finished Bust, as now seen at the Royal Academy Exhibition.
[For the Intermediate Stages of Development, see Arts & Crafts, No. 1.]