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Rodin Museum

The Shade (foreground) and Adam (background)

Nowell and I got a chance to spend a couple hours at Phildelphia's Rodin Museum. Nowell had never been to the museum or seen so many Rodin works in one place so it was fun to see how much he loved the artwork.

Nowell pretending to "knock" on Rodin's Gates of Hell

Detail from Gates of Hell

Rodin's larger-than life sculpture Adam

My drawing of Adam

It was interesting to try out my newly learned "block-in" technique to sketch the sculpture. As I've been practicing recently, I used all straight lines, starting with long lines to create a large "envelope" polygon, and then cutting into it with shorter and short straight lines till the figure emerges.

It was fascinating to discover through the drawing process the zig-zag diagonals Rodin designed. Adam's weight bearing leg makes a nearly perfectly vertical line up to the back of his head, but everything else is a diagonal wrapping around that stable central axis. You can see his wrist, his right knee, and his left ankle are all on a straight diagonal line, nearly perpendicular to the diagonal line made by the left hip and right knee. And perfectly parallel to that hip/knee line is another diagonal going from the crease of his waist at the side to the inside crease of the wrist, and another parallel line from the elbow past the armpit to the sharp bend of the far shoulder blade on the back.

The thing I wonder about this approach though, is although the gesture is captured and the proportions are accurate, the drawing itself does not look very dynamic. Previous to my recent introduction to classical drawing, I would have scribbled and erased and made a much less accurate but also more energetic drawing.

I guess when I get faster with this process I'll be able to make energetic marks that are also accurate. That's my hope at least. And despite the tentativeness of the drawing, I really loved having the chance to draw from such an amazing work of art.

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Reader Comments (1)

The envelope is working well for you.

August 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
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