Copies of Bargue Drawings
The links below will take you to detailed decriptions of my personal experience of learning how to copy the Bargue plates, without the benefit of a teacher.
Actually, you don't need one. With a combination of the infromation here and in the book itself, you should be able to do fine on your own. Email me if you have any questions.
The course starts out fairly simply with plate one. At least, the drawings look simple until you try to copy them with unflinching accuracy.
This plate taught me the basics of workign sight size, a technique I've used frequently since and to good effect. It's a great way to sharpen up your eye.
I made such a mess of this plate I did it twice.
This second plate of profiles represents quite a jump in difficulty from the first plate.
On average, the drawings on this plate took me about an hour each. But was aiming for absolute accuracy.
I didn't achieve it, but I did come close.
The third plate features the introduction of tone, and again is quite a step up from the previous plate.
Amusingly, I doscovered I'd been going about copying the plates incorrectly at this point. Or at least, I hadn't been following the recommended proceedure in the book.
I put that right on this plate, and my understanding of the sight size technique took a giant leap forward.
In this fourth plate of ears, I stumbled on an excellent method of checking my accuracy without having a teacher do it for me.
It might surprise you how simple it is to do that.
It might not.
This plate, the first full plate featuring tone and line, took rather longer to complete.
Because it was complex, I've written it up in six installments.
The last stages aren't covered very well but I think it stands as a tutorial on how to set up and begin your Bargue drawings at least.
About the Charles Bargue Drawing Course:Charles Bargue was an academic painter from 19th Century France. Under the auspices of art dealers Goupil and Cie (Vincent and Theo Van Gogh's employers,) and along with Jean-Leon Gerome, he produced a series of two hundred or so lithographs, reproductions of which were circulated around the ateliers of the time for students to copy. Copying these drawings is supposed to teach the student about line and tone, how to create an illusion of three dimensional form, and also to instil a sensitivity to classical beauty in painting and sculpture. These plates were almost lost, but, thanks to the efforts of Gerald Ackerman and Graydon Parrish, they have now been republished and a book version of the plates is available. It's proved popular enough to be on it's second priniting at time of writing. That has to be a good thing. Apparently the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a full original set.
The Bargue drawing course has regained popularity in recent years, and is now a standard part of the curriculum of modern academic ateliers in Europe and the US. I've got hold the book with the intention of copying a few of the plates, for much the same reason as I'm doing the old master copies. Although I doubt it's quite the same as going to an atelier, it's got to be pretty good practice all the same.
I've had a lot of unanswered questions as I've been working through the first few plates, largely because I didn't read the book carefully enough before I started. I've put up a brief run-down of what I think is the right method in a post on Bargue drawing technique from May.
A more in-depth, step by step description of my effort at the fifth plate starts here: Bargue plate five.
Follow this link for my (rather personal) initial review of the Charles Bargue Drawing Course.