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Prismacolor® Pencil Drawing After Jean-Baptiste Deshays

Colored Pencil Drawing of a Seated Satyr Leaning Backwards

The drawing above was done with black and white Prismacolor® pencils on gray-toned paper. The subject is a Satyr, which is a Greek mythological demigod that is half man and half goat. It was copied from a drawing by Jean-Baptiste Deshays. That work was originally attributed to the more famous French artist, François Boucher. I will write about Boucher later in another blog post unless I find out that the other drawings supposedly done by him were in fact drawn by other artists. Now let’s talk about Jean-Baptiste Deshays or if you want to be even more formal, Jean-Baptiste-Henri Deshays. There is not a whole lot written about Deshays. Even the people that write for Wikipedia did not have much to say about Deshay and they seem incredibly interested in everything. The information they had was taken from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. They also had one external link to the Web Gallery of Art. But unfortunately, that link went to the biography of François-Guillaume Menageot. So let us learn what we can about this talented and relatively unknown French painter.

They seem incredibly interested in everything.

Born on November 27, 1729 in Colleville, France, Jean-Baptiste Deshays first learned how to paint from his father. At the age of 20, he moved into the studio of Jean Restout II, who, like Collin de Vermont, was a student of Jean Jouvenet and followed in the grand tradition of French history painting. During his studies with Restout, Deshays learned the importance of dramatic compositions and intense colors in big religious paintings. While he was in Restout’s studio, Deshays entered the prestigious Prix de Rome competition, winning second prize in 1750 and then the first prize in 1751. Deshays was required to spend three years at the Ecole des Eleves Protégés before proceeding to Rome. The school director, Carle Van Loo helped him develop a more stylish, looser style and tone down the intense training he received from Jouvenet. During this time, he painted a number of religious paintings, which are now lost, including two large canvases, an Annunciation and a Visitation, for the Rouen monastery of the Visitation. In Rome, under the supervision of Charles-Joseph Natoire, he spent four years completing his artistic instruction. Raphael, Domenichino, Guercino, and Carracci were among the Italian masters he copied during this period. His return to Paris in 1758 was followed by his marriage to François Boucher’s eldest daughter and his membership into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Despite only exhibiting at four official Salons, the artist was highly praised for his work.

Here is a link to Jean-Baptiste Deshays’ “Seated Satyr Leaning Backward” 1758/1765.

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Graphite Drawing After Raphael Sanzio

Graphite drawing of raphael

The graphite drawing above is a copy of a work done in black chalk by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino or if you prefer just Raphael. I feel sorry for anyone else by the name of Raffaello or Raphael because it is highly unlikely that the world will remember them by their first name alone. The original drawing by Raphael, described as ‘Nude Man seated on a Stone’, is in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford. The image on their website has a watermark on it so you will have to imagine the original drawing having no watermark. Now I shall consult the trusty Wikipedia to write about the drawings of Raphael.

Raphael was regarded as one of the finest draftsmen in Western art history. Before he began a composition, he would lay out several of his stock drawings on the floor and start drawing quickly, borrowing figures from here, there, and everywhere. According to the number of variations that survive, Raphael combined different drawings into his poses and compositions. Raphael would come up with four or six strategies to show a narrative, each one different from the next, and all of them were full of elegance and originality. The art of Raphael represents a shift in resources from production to research and development. A full-size preliminary drawing or ‘cartoon’ was made and then pricked with a pin and “pounced” with soot to leave dotted lines on the surface as a guide for completing the painted composition. He also used a metal stylus to scratch lines on paper and plaster, leaving only an indentation, but no marks. They can be seen on the walls of his frescoes and in the originals of many drawings. In his final years, Raphael was one of the first artists to use female models for preparatory drawings. Up to this time, only male models were used to draw and paint both male and female figures.

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Drawing in India Ink After Jacopo Tintoretto

India Ink drawing of Atlas

The above is another copy of a Tintoretto drawing located in the Museum of Budapest and is titled “Two Studies after the so-called “Atlas” Statuette.” In the description section under the drawing, it states “This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.” So what does that mean? As I’ve mentioned in a couple of other blog posts, sometimes a work of art is found to be by another lesser-known artist. It can create quite a brouhaha. So the original drawing might have been done by one of Tintoretto’s students or assistants. Or perhaps a follower of Tintoretto or maybe even ‘gasp’ a forger with a desceptive motive. Wow, things are really heating up, aren’t they? Who knows maybe by the time you read this we might find out what the museum staff discovered. Until then we will talk about the subject of the drawing.

The following information about the myth of Atlas was borrowed or taken from

The story of Atlas may have been founded on a Pelasgian myth, a tale associated with the original residents of Greece. Atlas was extremely powerful and had a brother named Prometheus. I wrote about Prometheus in a previous post, I hope you were paying attention. Atlas was one of Zeus’ greatest rivals and Zeus was kind of a big deal. Zeus along with the rest of the Olympians greatly feared Titan and his fellow Titans. In the end, the Olympians prevailed and conquered the Titans. The other Titans were incarcerated by Zeus in Tartarus, which is the name for hell. Since the Olympians feared and hated Atlas, they devised a special punishment for him. Atlas was sentenced to stand at the western end of the earth. He was then forced to carry the sky on his shoulders forever. According to my research, forever is a very long time. Atlas suffered a great deal because he had to bear such a hefty load. Over the centuries, a misconception emerged that he was destined to hold up the entire world. This is probably a result of artworks created during the Renaissance that misinterpreted the original myths. The Greeks believed Atlas held up the sky over what is now the country of Morocco.

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Prismacolor® Pencil Drawing After Jacopo Tintoretto

Pencil Drawing of a Young Man After Tintoretto

Here we have a Prismacolor® pencil drawing of a young man copied from a drawing of a young man drawn by Jacopo Tintoretto. Prismacolor® makes 150 different colors. I used only black and white. Why am I mentioning this? I really thought if I started writing I would be able to come up with something funny to say. As you can see, that did not happen. I realize the style of the drawing makes the young man look like a bag of walnuts but if you see the original, it kind of looks like that. It is in the collection of the governing body of Christ Church in Oxford, United Kingdom. I could not find an image of the drawing on their site. Since I am not part of the governing body, there isn’t a whole lot I can do. Here is a link to another Tintoretto drawing so you can see his style. I thought I would consult the World History Encyclopedia to find out about this exceptional artist.

These models were then placed inside a box.

The following information on Tintoretto was taken, borrowed, and perhaps stolen from the World History Encyclopedia. Tintoretto’s real name was Jacopo Robusti, and he was born in Venice in 1518. He began his career as an artist creating unassuming works such as decorated furniture and frescoes on exterior walls. It was, however, his large paintings that would make him famous. It has been said that his work combines the drawing style of Michelangelo along with Titian’s use of color. In his drawings and paintings, Tintoretto created muscular figures posed in unusual positions. Mannerism would be the name given to this technique. In the 17th century, the Mannerist style would become a major influence on artists. Tintoretto’s artistic style is also defined by his light source. He would create areas of shadow and color that are distinctive and dramatic. As part of the process of creating his work, the artist would first construct small wax models of human figures. These models were then placed inside a box. It was then possible to organize the models and use an artificial light source to illuminate them. As a result, different and unique effects of light and shadow would be created. Although today Tintoretto is considered a great Italian Master, throughout his career, he was criticized for his rapid pace and lack of finish in his art.

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India Ink Drawing After Aert de Gelder (formerly attributed to Rembrandt)

India Ink Drawing of a Nude Woman with Her Arm Raised

As I have mentioned earlier posts, I have been in the process of copying old master drawings from a book entitled “Anatomy Lessons by the Great Masters” by Robert Beverly Hale. The India ink drawing above is a copy of a work done in pen and wash by Rembrandt van Rijn. When I went to find information on the original drawing, I discovered that Rembrandt did not draw it. It had been reattributed to another Dutch painter named Aert de Gelder. You are probably asking yourself, who is this person named Rembrandt? Believe it or not, there is a lot of information on him everywhere in the form of articles, books, movies, etc. A much better question would be: who is this guy named Aert de Gelder? Let’s find out together. The following information is taken from the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid, Spain. On their website it states that it is in fact ‘Everyone’s Museum’. So, in the interest of inclusivity we will rely on their information.

There isn’t a lot written about Aert de Gelder.

He began his training as an artist in his hometown of Dordrecht, Holland. In 1661, he moved to Amsterdam to complete his training in Rembrandt’s studio. Aert de Gelder was considered Rembrandt’s best and closest follower. De Gelder uses broad brushstrokes that are heavily pigmented, and he often applies the pigment with a spatula or his fingers. By using the other end of the brush, the artist could also create effects by scratching into the wet paint. The most distinctive aspect of De Gelder’s style was his use of color, especially from the start of the 18th century onwards, when he began to add whites, yellows, blues, greens, violets, and oranges. Like the color orange, not the actual fruit. Although maybe he did attach fruit to his paintings. There isn’t a lot written about Aert de Gelder.

Click here if you would like to see a digital copy of a drawing of a woman with her arm raised by Aert de Gelder.

If you would like to purchase the book: Anatomy Lessons of The Great Masters by Robert Hale click here.

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Graphite Drawing After Andrea del Sarto

Pencil Drawing of St. John the Baptist

Here is yet another graphite pencil drawing copied from the work by an old master of the Italian Renaissance. I am well aware that the drawing looks like an old hippy with a frisbee but it is actually a drawing of St. John the Baptist holding a frisbee after the artist Andrea del Sarto. To learn more about our featured artist, I typed the name Sarto into a Google search. But unfortunately, I got images of shoes by Franco Sarto. Lots and lots of shoes. So I then typed the name Andrea del Sarto into the search bar and found some information that might be useful. The following particulars come from the fine person(s) at Wikipedia.

Andrea del Sarto, originally named Agnolo di Francesco di Luca, was an Italian painter from Florence who prospered during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism periods. Due to the fact that his father, Agnolo, was a tailor, which means Sarto in Italian, he became known as “del Sarto.” (meaning “tailor’s son”). Pretty clever, eh? Born in 1486, Andrea del Sarto was first apprenticed to a goldsmith in 1494, and later to a woodcarver and painter named Gian Barile. Then he apprenticed to Piero di Cosimo and Raffaellino del Garbo. If you’re like me you have no idea who all of these people are. In addition to his talents as a painter, he was also a sculptor, a draftsman, a fresco decorator, and a colorist. Del Sarto was highly regarded during his lifetime. Unfortunately, after his death, his legacy was overshadowed by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

“On the bright side…”

On the bright side, Andrea del Sarto inspired a play that was written by Alfred de Musset in 1848 aptly titled “Andre del Sarto”. But wait there’s more. Based on Alfred de Musset’s 1848 play, Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur composed, once again aptly titled, “Andrea del Sarto” in 1968.

If you want to see the original drawing in person you will have to visit the National Gallery of Victoria located in Southbank, Melbourne, Australia. Here are the coordinates: 37.822595°S 144.968634°E.

Click on the link, if you would like to see a facsimile of the original drawing by Andrea del Sarto of St. John the Baptist.

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Graphite Drawing After Raphael Sanzio

Copy of Raphael's Drawing "nude man between two females"

Here is a drawing copied from a work by Raphael Sanzio entitled “nude man between two females”. Raphael’s original drawing was done in pen and ink and is in the collection at the Musee Bonnat in Bayonne. You are probably wondering if it is in Bayonne, France, or Bayonne, New Jersey. Are you really thinking that? I created my drawing in pencil, which is now stored in a folder on a shelf beside my bed. This is one of my drawings that I wasn’t sure if I should even bother uploading. However, since you’re willing to read this blog, you are also willing to view bad copies of old master drawings.

“she said a lot of things”

Now let’s talk a little about Raphael Sanzio. This information comes from the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art. My great-grandmother used to say that we are relatives of J. Paul Getty. Of course, she said a lot of things. I remember she told me she never dropped a dinner plate because she had a strong grip. I think I’m getting off-topic. Now let’s listen to Mister ‘Fancy Pants’ Getty talk about Raffaello.

During the 16th century, the artist biographer Giorgio Vasari crowned Raphael as the “Prince of Painters.” Raphael learned painting from his father and experienced court life in Urbino during his youth. At age 12, Raphael entered the workshop of Urbino’s leading painter and quickly surpassed him. At 21, Raphael moved to Florence, where he studied the art of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. In Florence, Raphael painted the Madonna and Child many times, displaying his characteristic warmth, serenity, and perfection. As a painter to the papal court, Raphael’s work met with high praise, and he became the most famous artist in Rome within four years. In addition to architecture, paintings, decorations, and antiquities preservation, Raphael was also in charge of all papal projects. The pope was planning to make Raphael a cardinal, but unfortunately, Raphael died before that could happen. He was only 37 years old.

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Graphite Drawing After Michelangelo

Copy of Study for the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo

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 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.

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Graphite Drawing After Michelangelo

Copy in Pencil of Michelangelo's Study of St. Lawrence for the Last Judgement

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.