2017.04.22-23 Week 17
was spent getting my final copy drawing ready for review on Monday; spray fixing the graphite on my three Bargue drawings; and doing my weekly domestic duties of shopping and laundry. In the evening I decided to step away from “culture” and “learning” and watch “Rogue 1” the Star Wars sequel movie. Not memorable but it served its purpose of removing me from the intensity of school and the pressure to make the best use of my time in Florence.

On Sunday is was up early so that I could get to the Uffizi before the crowds. My first goal was to study the transition from the early to the late Renaissance. I enjoy the chronological way the museum is configured. There were also two nice side exhibitions.

Plautilla Nelli. “Sister Plautilla Nelli. Convent Art and Devotion in the Footsteps of Savonarola” exhibit, curated by Dr. Fausta Navarro, Uffizi, Florence, 9 March – 4 June 2017
From Wikipedia:
Sister Plautilla Nelli (1524–1588) was a self-taught nun-artist and the first-known female Renaissance painter of Florence, Italy.[1]She was a nun of the Dominican convent of St. Catherine of Siena located in Piazza San Marco, Florence, and was heavily influenced by the teachings of Savonarola and by the artwork of Fra Bartolomeo. There is a film by the Advancing Women Artists Foundation that helps illuminate this important female Renaissance painter. Fra Bartolomeo left over 500 drawings to his pupil, Fra Paolino who, in turn left them in the possession of “a nun who paints” in the convent of Santa Caterina da Siena. She used many of these drawings as underlays for her paintings. Her largest work, a 20M long Last Supper, is undergoing restoration and will be available to see in 2018 at  Santa Maria Novella Museum in Florence across from Alessandro Allori’s painting with the same theme, also painted in the sixteenth century.

Il cosmo magico di Leonardo da Vinci: l’Adorazione dei Magi restaurata
This exhibition relates to the restoration of the Adoration of the Magi by Da Vinci (unfinished). It includes the preparatory drawings and a film about the painstaking restoration process. Being able to see the underdrawings and preparatory shadings (done with an ink wash) was an wonderful unintended consequence of da Vinci never completing this commission.


Finally, the Veneri dei Medici, in the tribune room, is the 1st Century BC sculpture that was probably used by Sandro Botticelli as the model for his “Birth of Venus.”


The is week was shortened by a National Holiday on Tuesday and the school being closed in preparation of the student show at the Angel Academy of Art (Triennial). I began  my first charcoal exercise. This requires:

  • The sight-size drawing of a cast plaster foot to sketch paper. Sight-sizing is achieved by placing the easel board at the 1/3 (back to front) point and parallel to the line of the cast. The easel, the standing position (established as 3X the depth of the object being drawn) and the “click-in” point are all taped show that the set-up can be reestablished each day.
  • The location of the top and bottom extremes are established by using a kitting needle to sight these extremes and mark them lightly on the sketch paper.
  • Once these upper and lower boundaries are established, then the boundary of the object is drawn by using the knitting needle as the sight-sizer.
  • The shadow shapes (bounded by the bed-bug line) are constructed.
  • The whole drawing is double checked before it is the transferred to Roma Paper on which the charcoal will be used to complete the drawing.

Once the shadow shapes were completed, I then transferred the drawing to a sheet of Roma Paper (a rag hand-laid paper). This was done by tracing the drawing onto transparent tracing paper with a red pen; putting B grade Nitram charcoal on the back following the outline of the tracing; keeping the exact position by ensuring the tracing paper was taped with a hinge (since this is a sight-sized drawing the transfer has to remain in the same relative position as the original); tracing this red outline with a black pen (to see what lines are traced) to deposit the charcoal onto the Roma Paper; and then finally begin by filling in the background with the Nitram B grade charcoal to a uniform “blackness value # 8.  Once this is completed I will then begin rendering.

2 of 3 week pose - 1We completed week two of a three week pose. This drawing requires minute adjustments and precision to make sure the likeness is true. For the first time I am starting to “see” the subtleties of the “boney” turning points and muscle articulations on the surface of the body. I am finally getting the hang of this and look forward to doing more and more figure and portrait work.

Friday night was the opening of the triennial Student Art show at the Angel Academy of Art. I was pleased that my Bargue # 2 (Torso) was chosen to be in the show. This was my first “exhibition”. It was very rewarding to see the wonderful work of my fellow students. I realized, seeing the complete array of drawings and paintings, how much I have learned from not only the formal education but any association from these talented people from many different countries.





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