MANY treatises on artistic anatomy exist; there exists, it may be, a less number of volumes on figure-drawing. Several of these treatises, of these volumes, I have read, still more have I glanced through ; years ago I consulted with assiduity Marshall's Anatomy for Artists. Now, as a draughtsman of the nude myself, as a sculptor, as a painter, I have faults to find with one and all of the books on drawing that it has been my lot to come across. Some of them are practically valueless ; others are fairly good ; some, the artistic anatomies, I mean, fulfil rather too well their allotted task, but unfortunately the task that they have allotted themselves is far from coinciding with the extent of the subject of figure-drawing ; and figure-drawing implicitly contains all other forms of drawing. I forget now which painter of seascapes was once asked what was the best way of learning to paint the sea. The churlish reply came : ' Go and draw the Antique ! ' This answer I would, myself, modify : I would replace the word ' Antique ' by the word ' Nude 5 ; why I would do so will appear hereafter.1 For the moment I will return to my accusation.
Let us examine the case of the anatomists. I must hasten to say that, far from being hostile to anatomical studies, I favour them highly. It is many years since I read the often splendid, but as frequently inconsequent, prose of Ruskin. One thing, however, I remember among others : his denunciation of anatomical study. He named it as the cause
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