The old master copy above is a figure study by Michelangelo for an Ignudo or idealized male in the Sistine Chapel. I drew my version in graphite pencil while the original was done with red chalk. Michelangelo also used what the Teyler Museum in Holland, which houses the drawing, calls a loodstift. A loodstift, from what I can tell, is a lead pencil of some sort. It was a precursor to the lead pencil, which was a precursor to the graphite pencil. The graphite pencil was a precursor to the Apple pencil. The Apple pencil has a lot of advantages over the regular Number 2 pencil. I like to talk about the several benefits of an Apple pencil, but I can’t get over the fact that an Apple Pencil costs $99 and a regular pencil costs about 10 cents.
“…several falling-outs with upper management.”
Now let’s talk about Michelangelo’s personality with information borrowed from the good folks at the biography.com website. With his brilliant mind and many talents, Michelangelo won the admiration and patronage of wealthy and powerful Italians, but he also had his backbiters. He was aggressive and quick-tempered, often leading to several falling-outs with upper management. In addition to getting Michelangelo into trouble, his personality also caused him to be somewhat disgruntled. Michelangelo continually attempted to achieve perfection without compromising. During his artistic career, he suffered increasing impairments and describes the enormous physical strain he underwent while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He often wrote about his melancholy in some of his literary works, which include over three hundred poems and sonnets. Here is a fun quote: “I am here in terrible distress and with severe physical strain, and I do not have any friends of any kind, nor do I want them, and I do not have enough time to eat as much as I need; my joy and my sorrow/my repose are these discomforts.” Wow, I guess that is enough melancholy for one blog post. Until next time.
Just above this well worded post is a copy in pencil of a sketch by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. His close personal friends just called him Michelangelo. Today he is known by the name Señor Simoni. The drawing is a preparatory study St. Laurence or St. Lawrence done in red chalk for the Sistine Chapel. I created my copy in graphite pencil because chalk is messy, tends to smear and has that scratchy feeling when you draw with it. Whereas a pencil has wood around it so my delicate hands never even have to touch the actual drawing medium. When someone tries to insult me by saying I am afraid to get my hands dirty, I really can’t argue with him or her but more likely a he. Since we have talked about drawing mediums and Señor Simoni (Michelangelo), I think we’ll talk about the subject of the drawing, St. Laurence. I have taken most of the information from the online version of the encyclopedia Britannica as oppose to the actual set of Britannica books.
Today he is known by the name Señor Simoni.
Saint Laurence or Saint Lawrence, if you’re partial to the letter ‘w’, passed away in 258 in Rome, Italy. I couldn’t find out when he was born. Only when he died. That is a sign of someone living their best life. They go totally unnoticed when they are born but when they die it is sure as hell recorded. He was a extremely celebrated martyr. I didn’t read about how he died but when he is described as a martyr you know it can’t be good. Actually, I just found out that he was probably beheaded. I am telling you this just in case your a real martyrdom buff.
Saint Lawrence is known as the patron Saint of the poor because he apparently gave away the churches riches to the sick and poor. He is also known as the patron Saint of Cooks because it is also quite possible that he was cooked to death on a gridiron. I think that’s why the date of his death was recorded. Your peers definitely wouldn’t forget something like that.
Here is the link if you would like to see a facsimile of the drawing I copied: Study of St. Lawrence for the Last Judgement in black chalk at the Teyler Museum, Haarlem by Michelangelo Buonarotti.
The black and white Prismacolor pencil drawing above was copied from a work by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Now we just refer to him as Tiepolo, since we are not very formal in these casual modern times. Tiepolo’s drawing was done in 1752 with white and red chalk on blue tinted paper. The drawing is in the collection at the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, Germany. In German, the medium that he used is called “Rötel; weiße Kreide on Papier” which Google translated to “rubella; white chalk on paper”. You read that correctly. It was drawn with rubella. It was drawn with a contagious viral infection that causes red rash. I know what you are thinking. This can’t be right. So I did some research. Real honest to goodness research and it turns out that “Rötel” is a Japanese manufacturer of high end audio and video equipment. Of course, that can’t be right either. Then I realized I forgot to include a umlaut when I searched. Finally, I entered just the word “Rötel” into google translate with the umlauts and it said it was “red chalk”. That sounds about right.
Now let’s talk about the Giovanni Battista Tiepolo drawing in question. The standing male half-nude drawing is believed to be a preparatory sketch for the painting entitled “The Death of Hyacinthus” finished in early 1753. The final figure is in more of a reclined position. Tiepolo completed the large painting with the help of his two sons, Lorenzo and Giandomenico. The painting is part of a series illustrating the story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It pertains to the love of the immortal god Apollo to the mortal human Hyacinthus. Apparently, Hyacinthus was trying to throw a discus, accidentally hit himself in the head and died. There are different accounts on how he would be able to create such a blunder but the result was the same. He died from throwing a discus at his own head. Apollo then tried unsuccessfully to bring him back to life. It was then that Apollo had the great idea to turn Hyacinthus into a flower. I am just going to assume that the flower is what we now call a Hyacinthus. I would try to verify that but I really want to finish this blog.
This next drawing is of three nudes copied from a work by Jacopo Pontormo. Pontormo’s drawing is in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library & Museum in New York. The museum is located across the street from, and I kid you not, the Polish Embassy and Consulate. Would it be too off topic to talk and make jokes about the Polish? I will try with all my might to focus on the drawings and the Morgan Museum.
The Morgan Museum consists of the East and West Morgan Stanley Galleries, Morgan’s Study, The Morgan Dining Room and most importantly The Morgan Souvenir Shop. It is there that you can purchase coffee mugs, tote bags, an umbrella, a necktie that has a map of New York City on it, just in case your phone battery dies, and so many other great items. You can also buy a tray that is inscribed with the words “There is no friend as loyal as a book”. It is perfect for that special someone in your life that you have hurt so deeply that they no longer even try to interact with the outside world. The price of the tray is $42 plus $24 for shipping. Now let’s get back to the drawing.
Jacopo Pontormo’s drawing is described as “Standing Male Nude Seen from the Back, and Two Seated Nudes”. Apparently on the other side of the drawing is another bonus drawing entitled “Striding Nude with Arms Raised”. Since I forgot to turn the paper over I only copied the one drawing*. According to the description, the media he used is “Red chalk with smudging”. I have looked everywhere for smudging and I couldn’t find it. So I drew my version with pencil. Pontormo’s drawing on the back was done with black, red, and white chalk and since I don’t see the word “smudging” I’ll assume there was no smudging involved.
*please note that I drew my copy from a reproduction and did not actually handle the original artwork.
The featured image in this post is a drawing in various graphite pencils. Actually, I think only used one pencil. I think I used the “Prismacolor 14420 Ebony Graphite Drawing Pencil”. That’s right the old “14420”. You’re probably familiar with a number 2 pencil. Well the “14420” is not that. It is 7210 times darker than a number 2 pencil. (7210 x 2 = 14420) Please note: I not only have no vested interest in the Prismacolor company but I also know very little about the Prismacolor company and it’s products.
This drawing is a copy of a drawing in red chalk by Michelangelo Buonarotti entitled “Study for the Nude Youth Over the Prophet Daniel for the Sistine Chapel Ceiling”. The figure on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is located above Daniel and below “God Dividing the Water from the Earth”. According to Wikipedia: Daniel is, believe it or not, the main character in the Book of Daniel. Few people debate whether or not this is true. So the next time you are in a heated discussion over religion, you can both can agree that the main character in the Book of Daniel is in fact Daniel. As you can see this blog is not just about art but about healing the world in general.
Above the nude figure we were talking about is the scene of “God Dividing the Water from the Earth”. Apparently, according to Bible scholars, he divided the water to be either above the firmament or below. I can only assumed that he further divided the water between fresh, salt and brackish. I prefer to call brackish water either lightly salted water or even perhaps salt water with 50% less sodium.
On the second day, because we can all agree that dividing water is an all day affair, he separated morning and evening. Then he added lights to the firmament of heaven. It was then that he realized that he should have put up the lights first so he could see what he was doing. Perhaps then he could have put the lights up and divide the water all in the same day.
This next post is a drawing done in India ink on 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper of Polypemus throwing a rock at Odysseus. I left out Odysseus and the rock that was being thrown. I’m not sure why. I just did. It was copied from a drawing by the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli. His was drawn in pencil with gray, blue and brown washes.
So who was the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli? Well I’ll tell you. Fuseli was born in Zürich, Switzerland in the year 1741. He was shaped in a spiral with a lot of grooves and crevices to catch extra sauce and dressings. He was sturdy enough to be tossed with a thick marinara or meat sauce. Most of the time he could be found in pasta salads. Wait a second, that is Fusilli the pasta shape. I meant to search for Fuseli. These things happen. They happen all the time. Apparently, there are over 600 different shapes of pasta from Angle Hair to Ziti. I think they can stop now. I mean I don’t want to put pasta designers out of work but there has to be more important things they can do like pressure washing the entire country of Italy.
Now, let’s learn about Henry Fuseli whose original name was Johann Heinrich Füssli. Why he would prefer a name without an umlaut to a name that had a umlaut is beyond me. Of course, being called Henry rather then Johann Heinrich would make you seem more amiable.
Henry Fuseli, largely influenced by Michelangelo and classical art, was known for drawings and paintings of nude figures in intense and expressive poses. His subjects were usually taken from theater and literature. He would often illustrate scenes from works by Shakespeare. He also wrote reviews and essays on art as well as taught painting at the Royal Academy in London. He taught great artists such as John Constable and was a big influence on William Blake. He died in 1825 at the age of 84.
Click Here to see the original drawing by Henry Fuseli of “Polyphemus Hurling the Rock at Odysseus”
Here we have another drawing in pencil copied from a work by the Italian painter Annibale Carracci. I really don’t know much about Mr. Carracci, so let’s find out about him together unless you are an expert on Italian art then I must warn you that you will be extremely disappointed by not only this post but by my entire website. The following has been taken mainly from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline. More specifically called the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Heilbrunn Foundation funded the art history timeline. The Heilbrunn Foundation was founded by Robert H. Heilbrunn, an investor and philanthropist. Unfortunately, Mr. Heilbrunn died in 2001. His estate still owns the entire history of art. So next time you want to go to a art museum or write a article on art history, stop and think, do I really want to be sued by the Heilbrunn Family?
Let’s get back to Annibale Carracci. I’ve decided to get my information from Wikipedia just to play it safe. Carracci was born in 1560 and died in 1609. He was an art teacher and painter who lived in Bologna and Rome. Annibale along with his brother and cousin, who were also artists, created a style of Baroque art that was both dynamic and monumental in a classical sort of way. Their draftsmanship was greatly influenced by Andrea del Sarto and Raphael. Carracci and company also were influenced by the bright colors of Titian. They took effects of natural light created by Northern Italian artists and the composition of artists like Raphael. Annibale Carracci was instrumental in creating a classical style of art that also borrowed heavily on ancient Roman and Green artists. He along with Caravaggio were two of the most influential painters in the 1600s. As a teacher, the artists he taught went on to become the most influential in Roman painting.
If you would like to see the original drawing of a male torso by Annibale Carracci then by all means click here.
Up next on our master copying adventure, we have a graphite drawing of a woman sleeping copied from a work by Anthony Van Dyke or if you want to be more formal, Sir Anthony Van Dyke. Of course, if people have a choice they usually like to be less formal. That is why sweatpants are so popular. Let’s get back to Anthony Van Dyke. If you would like to see the original drawing of a woman sleeping by Sir Anthony Van Dyke, click here. Now let’s talk about Van Dyke. According to the Britannica website, which was the encyclopedia Britannica, which was a set of large books that occupied a lot of shelf space and included lots of information on a wide variety of topics. Yet somehow never included enough information on one topic to write an entire school report. Now let’s talk about Sir Anthony Van Dyke. He was born in 1599 in Antwerp which is now Belgium. He is second only to Peter Paul Rubens, as the most important Flemish painter of the 1600s. Van Dyke is best known for his portrait paintings of the aristocracy but he also created mythological and religious work. He was the 7th of 12 children and displayed all the common characteristics of a 7th child. His father was a successful silk salesman. He started a painting apprenticeship at the age of ten. His approach to applying paint was relatively simple for the time. He applied thin coats of blue, gray, pink, ochre and sienna. This gave his work a soft and harmonious look. There are 500 portraits created by Van Dyke still in existence, which is an incredible output considering he only lived to the age of 42. He greatly influence younger Flemish artists, perhaps even more than Peter Paul Rubens. English portrait painters such as Thomas Gainsborough in the 18th century also borrowed heavily from his work. Scholars not only continue to study his portrait paintings but also his drawings, watercolors and etchings of landscapes and other various subjects.
Graphite pencil figure drawing copied from Michelangelo Buonarroti. According to the book of drawings I’m working from the description is “Study for one of the resurrected of the last judgement”. It also says it is in ‘British Museum’. Once again I’m going to assume it is The British Museum and not one of the garden variety British museums. The British Museum labels the drawing “A FIGURE RISING FROM THE GRAVE, IN THE FOREGROUND OF THE LAST JUDGEMENT.” Yes, they wrote it out in all caps. If you’re THE BRITISH MUSEUM you can do things like that. If you are The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History, also in London, then you cannot get away with things like that. The last thing people want is Viktor Wynd appearing to yell at them. Let’s get back to the drawing. Michelangelo did his in black chalk heightened with white. I just did mine in pencil. The scratchiness of chalk bothers me somehow. Like pastels and so forth. So I try to substitute it for something non-scratchy. The term “non-scratchy” was not underlined so I guess it’s a real word. Thanks computer for taking my side for once.
On the back of the drawing is another drawing. Michelangelo was perhaps very frugal in his use of paper and/or environmentally responsible. In hindsight, I think it would have been OK if he would have used two sheets of paper. I mean I don’t think he would be ‘cancelled’ of discredited for using more than one piece of paper. I mean I’m all for getting the most out of your materials but really, I mean it’s Michelangelo.