working distance. Even then a small drawing squared out will probably give, not a sufficiently good result, but the result needed ; namely, one that is not too rigidly correct in theory, and consequently not at variance with the character of the other aesthetic factors of figure-drawing, of envelopment, of colour, and so on, which are not susceptible of accurate calculation. Physicists will tell us that it is useless to exaggerate accuracy in one group of measurements when another group in the same experiment does not allow of more than approximate correctness. I think it fairly evident, in the annexed drawing, that Leonardo made call only on his power of conceiving shapes in recession when he drew the arcades ; indeed, when one is practised in this type of thought, it is no more difficult to draw a circle in perspective than it is to draw one ' full on \ He did not even trouble to draw the joints of the stones radially ; yet one can hardly say that the artistic value of the sketch suffers by this omission.
It is a common belief among beginners and ordinary draughtsmen that foreshortening of the figure is more difficult than drawing a figure ' full on * in a simple pose. The very contrary is true. In foreshortening, provided the recession be rendered, even great errors, even considerable inexactitudes pass unperceived ; the variety of possible foreshortening makes it impossible for us to have exact knowledge of the appearance of, say, an arm, in the circumstances in which it may have pleased the artist to show it to us, hence we are not fitted out with the information needed to bring him to book with an adverse criticism. Why foreshortening is said to be difficult is because almost without exception people conceive the form flatly, and then try to make it look ' right * on the surface of the paper. The method of copying the appearance of the model flatly is employed, they carefully notice that such an c intersection ' is just over such another, or just so
Was this article helpful?