And Rembrandt

aid of light and shade ; to them he added a normal lighting which produced in turn a magnificent chiaroscuro scheme. No doubt because Michael-Angelo conceived his pose complete in isolation people look upon his sculpture as greater than his painting. Yet I feel that his frescoes satisfy more fully than his marbles. Not because his brush enriched a splendid shape with wealth of tint, with mystery of shade and light, but because his invention is too unquiet to attain to the serene composure of-the greatest glyptic art. The drawing that we are now considering would be undoubtedly fine as a statuette, less fine as a life-size marble ; I cannot help but think that its finest working out would be as a decorative painting. Far more sculptural in architectural sense of upbuilt formal mass are the figures of Donatello.

Very much may be learnt from the comparison of these two drawings ; but before dealing with that of Michael-Angelo let us complete our examination of the Rembrandt. One might call the drawing an organized series of parenthetical enclosures of volumes ; the parentheses enclosing the pelvic mass sweep inwards and partly terminate the buttock volume, or, more exactly, follow the line of fatty accumulation below and outside the real buttock volume. The next parenthetical inclusion of the thighs denotes with marvellously delicate suggestion the forward movement of the masses as they come out from within the pelvic volume. The last parenthesis, that of the legs, hints most refinedly at the mass return towards the spectator. The right-hand line, sure and straight, falls from the hip, for the greater part of the weight of the body is upheld by that leg, consequently muscles and tendons are taut, and the angle of the right iliac crest is sharply marked at the summit of the haunch. The interrupted left profile is less certain and more flaccid in treatment as the muscles are relaxed. The shading between the thighs is also not very determinate because it is especially the outer group of muscles that is strained in the right thigh ; the right thigh also hides the inner profile of the left. Lower down, where the calf comes back towards the spectator, the outline is definitely established, it being necessary to circumscribe what now becomes a foreground volume. A few pages back I called attention to the need of expressing the back, front, and sides of a figure. Rembrandt here fulfils this desideratum with great skill. It is quite clear just where the side of the face turns into the back of the neck, at the little line shaped like a 3. The change from the back to the side of the right arm is ably and unhesitatingly indicated by the swift crook-shaped line down it. The short vertical on the left arm performs a similar office. The passage from buttock to haunch is clearly marked on the right by the two parallel curved lines that enclose the side plane of the figure at this point. The shading determines the inner side of the left thigh ; the outer side of the right one lies between the double lines. The thick line that shapes the left calf plays a shadow contrast part, useful in insisting on the prominence of the mass. The left side of that leg is very cunningly suggested by the exact prolongation, beyond the interruption, of the thigh profile by the line of the tendo Achillis at the heel. This shows how unnecessary it is, as I stated a short time back, to carry a rhythn^ out fully ; it is only needful to catch it up from place to place. The spectator's imagination fills in the rest. One cannot repeat too often that this rediscovering of rhythm of direction < farther on 5 is the very soul of drawing, whether figure or other. But I have said enough to convince the reader that the origin of the pen-strokes in this drawing was, first and foremost, to enclose volumes, secondly, to transcribe certain rhythmic relations between them. We have spoken of most of the lines of the figure, and we have seen exactly the reasons that presided at the conception of each. All-masterly chiar-oscurist that Rembrandt was, we have seen that it was not

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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