Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inspirations - Pierre-Paul Prud'hon

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon was a French Romantic painter and a superb draftsman.  1758 - 1823. At the height of his profession, he worked for wealthy Parisians which led him into the court of Napoleon. For a more details on his life, see Getty Museum.

It is his remarkable drawings which impressed me.  He took a scholastic drawing technique and developed it throughout his entire career instead of leaving it at school.

Left: Image of museum document showing discoloring and fading of the paper.
Right: Restored and enhanced enlargement showing the detail of the strokes.

The technique uses a middle value blue, laid paper with black and white chalk hatching.  Unlike most cross hatching, he draws his lines parallel to the surface adding description of the direction of the slope of the surface.  He also uses an under value of smudged black or white to enhance the values with the hatching drawn over it.  Some areas are solid black as in the deepest recess of the arm against the body, the eye lashes, and particular areas of the hair.

Also notice the second lighting source from the left at mid level which gives form to the otherwise shaded and shadowed areas. Lighting the figure from both sides accentuates the shapes within the form.  In the enlargement at the right the subtle definitions of the musculature of the back and shoulder are accurately rendered with the delicate highlights and a gradation of shades.

What amazes me most of all is the exquisite and accurate drawings.  Back then it was called draftsmanship.  Also, the amount of time required to execute the drawing and the patience of the model was remarkable.  The paper size is estimated at 22" x 15" based upon museums which give sizes of his other drawings.

For more of his drawings and paintings see Humanities Web.

For details and lessons on the production of his drawings see Rebecca Alzofon's Studio

The links above are given as those sites give a more detailed description of their areas of interest. 

My two drawings below have been influenced by Prud'hon but not replicating his exact style. If I put more time into the drawing as did Prud'hon, the results would have been more detailed and finished.

Conte pastel pencils with hatching. (2007)
Conte crayons and pastel pencils with hatching, linear and cross except for the hair. (2007)