This is an excellent, insightful article about the renowned artist, Paul Prud’hon, who often enjoyed presenting seemingly conflicting or unrelated ideas together in his work. Even the most structured, academically correct drawing can have a delicacy and power you wouldn’t expect. Click through for the full article from Artist Daily.
Paul Prud’hon – The Master
There is something inherently contradictory about [Paul Prud’hon’s] drawings. They are simultaneously sensual and academic, powerfully physical but cerebral and still as well. But most contradictory of all is that this 18th-century master’s drawing techniques still have many things to teach us hundreds of years later.
There are few better draftsmen to learn how to draw from than Prud’hon. His output is legendary and the drawing program that he embarked upon during his career was based on the belief that learning to draw was absolutely essential for any artist who hoped to rise in skill and public estimation.
Prud’hon’s working method was a systematic one. He usually worked on blue paper, giving him a cool middle-tone to start with, and–now, this is unusual–he would use both black and white chalk from the start. Many artists wait until the end of the drawing process to add smatterings of highlights, but Prud’hon built up a full range of tones from the outset.
He would start with a rough contour to establish proportions and gesture, but then went right in with loose and free hatching. After this, he would often stump down the drawing, rubbing it so that lines became broad “washes” of light and dark. He would then go in with more tightly controlled hatching to reintroduce structure to the forms. It went this way, back and forth, but always the last layer was hatching, not stumping, so that on the surface the forms–made with tandem strokes of black and white–appeared delicately modeled and luminous.
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