Muscles, fat and clothes

Chapter 21 of my BOOK “Drawing with Knowledge“, entitled “Deformationsmuscles, fat and clothes“, is not finished. Many of the large number of images required for illustrating the issues discussed in the text have not been made. Producing them will require several photo sessions with appropriate models. In the past, I have been putting off confronting the complications this will entail, until the book is accepted for publication. Now I have decided to make use of this website edition of the book, to present a preliminary version of the chapter in its current uncompleted form. I am doing so because, even in as it stands, the text is important as it goes beyond what you are likely to find in other texts on anatomy.

As its title indicates Chapter 21 discuses issues relating to “deformations” of appearances, in ways that are routinely omitted in other texts on anatomy. These occur for a number of reasons and the way they influence appearances can be due to a number of causes:

  • Differences due to the fact of individual variations in properties of muscles
  • Differences due to the fact of individual variations in characteristics of fat
  • Pressures on muscles and fat between different body parts
  • Pressures on muscles and fat between body parts and external objects
  • Effects of gravity on muscles and fat.

Chapter 21 also discusses issues arising when a model is wearing clothes. In particular,

  • Identifying regions both where clothes touch the body and where they follow its form closely
  • Establishing where clothes leave space between them and the body
  • Discovering how the characteristics of materials and the forces of gravity effect appearances.

Clicking on the link below will access chapter 21 in its current form:

 

CHAPTER 21 – DEFORMATIONS-MUSCLES, FAT AND CLOTHES

 

 


When I have a more comprehensive collection of relevant images, I will be inserting a number of them below on this web page. Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy the three images I have chosen and the questions that go with them.

  • The first is a symphony of mark-making by Berthe Morisot
  • The second is by the same artist. It illustrates how knowledge of anatomy can underpin a masterly and sensitive depiction of human body parts.
  • The third shows one of my own paintings, in which my feelings for colour dynamics dominated, to the exclusion of any concern about anatomy. The question is asked whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Do we need knowledge of muscles or fat?

Here are two paintings by Berthe Morisot that answer this question differently: The first painting with a tentative “no“. The second of them with a resounding “yes“. It had to be, in view of the underlying knowledge of anatomy enshrined in the quality of observation evident in the depiction of the model’s arms. Quite up to the exemplary standard of Edgar Degas.

 

muscles
 Berthe Morisot : portrait of young girl

 

muscles
Berthe Morisot : Portrait of Margaret Carr

Can other priorities override need for accuracy?

In the painting below, done in 1965, in the class of Professor Bohusz-Szyszko, I was enjoying testing out my teacher’s assertion thatall the best paintings are based on colour. As is clearly evident, anatomy took a back seat. The question is “Did this have a good or bad effect on the result?” My answer is indicated by the outcome, which was sufficiently was positive to encourage me to continue with making paintings in the same spirit.

 

muscles
Ann seated. Colour-dynamics were the exclusive motivation in my head.

Three final questions

  • Looking back at the top of the two Berthe Morisot paintings, do you think her priority was accuracy or expressing her feelings through the extraordinary range of mark-making dynamics she achieved, stretching from extreme delicacy to panache?
  • Do you think that Professor Bohusz-Szyszko should have added “the feelings” to his claim that “all good painting is based on colour“? For myself, I might have found his dogmatic assertion easier to accept unreservedly, if it had been extended to be, “All good painting is based on both colour and feeling, as expressed through the dynamics of the combination of colour and mark-making“? Of course, the definition of “mark-making” would have to include the deliberate suppression of marks.
  • What do you think is left out of the above?

 

Some quotations emphasising the centrality of the feelings:

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin: “Did you say that one paints with colours? Not at all, one merely uses colours. One paints with feeling”.

John Constable:  “Painting is just another word for feeling”.

Jean-Baptise Camille Corot (teacher of Berthe Morisot): Never lose the first impression that moved us“.

Claude Monet: “Impressionism is nothing but immediate sensation. All the great painters were more or less Impressionists”.

Paul Gauguin: “My simple object, which I take from daily life or nature, is merely a pretext. It helps me, by means of a definite arrangement of lines and colours, to create symphonies or harmonies with them”.

Paul Cézanne: “painting is classifying one’s sensations of colour.

Pierre Bonnard: “you can take any liberty with line, with form, with proportions, with colours, in order that the feeling is intelligible”.

Henri Matisse: “Colours and lines are forces and the secret of creation lies in the play and balance of these forces”.

 


List of chapters on drawing published so far

INTRODUCTORY TO ALL BOOKS

VOLUME ONE : “DRAWING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BRAIN”

BOOK 1 : “DRAWING WITH FEELING”

The chapters so far loaded:

BOOK 2 : “DRAWING WITH KNOWLEDGE”

The chapters so far loaded:

OTHER POSTS ON DRAWING:


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Structural basics

The need for knowledge of structural basics

Is there any real need for us to spend time learning about structural basics of anatomy? What is the point of cluttering our brains with information and rules about bone and muscle structures of the human body? In Chapter 20 (link below), I give my answer to this question. This can be compared with what I have to say about the rules for drawing objects from observation, which are presented in BOOK 1, chapter 11. These are designed to help analysis of a life class model by alerting attention to examples of the following features of appearance (examples indicated by arrows):

  • How the parts fit together (blue arrows)
  • In front/behind relations (white arrows)
  • Subtle changes of direction along the length of any selected section of contour (green arrows)
  • Comparisons between near symmetries, such as between the shape of the two shoulders or between the two eyes.
structural
Figure 1 : Blue, white and green arrows indicating key features of the pose of the young woman.*

Notice that all the same rules were applied to the analysis of the tree trunk featured in the drawing lesson in Chapter 10, or, indeed, could be applied to any other subject matter, as long as they have in front/behind relations and/or junctions between parts and/or contours containing curves (whether simple or complex). In Chapter 10, much use is made of the surroundings of the tree. In other words, the context provided by the the mown grass, the esplanade wall and the roof, gutter and windows of the house beyond it. There is a fundamental difference between these and the rules of human anatomy. Whereas my list of rules can be applied to any object-type, from any viewpoint and in any context, the rules of human anatomy relate to common features of specific object-types, seen in a limited number of poses, from limited number viewpoints.

How then could knowledge of anatomy improve your drawing of the model in Figure 1, or any other human model? As indicated above, the purpose of Chapter 20 of my book “Drawing with knowledge” (see link below) is to find answers to this question.

One of the answers is made clear by asking another question. Would knowledge of anatomy make any difference to the way you would depict the subtlety of curvatures along the length of any selected section of contour or make clear how parts fit together in your drawing? When I founded the Painting School of Montmiral over thirty years ago, my answer might well have been a guarded “no“. Today it is a guarded “yes“. I now realise how an awareness of which muscles are intertwining with which other muscles gives an added focus to our analysis of complex curvatures. I am also convinced that a better understanding of underlying structure can beneficially influence our search for visible signs of how parts fit together.

Nor is it only when drawing the human figure that knowledge of underlying structure can sharpen analysis when drawing from observation. It also helps when depicting the trunks and branches and leaves of trees. Indeed, it can make significant improvements in the depiction of all objects whose contours are made up of complex curves or characteristic ways of fitting together. What has slightly surprised me is the positive difference it makes to the quality of the drawings that result.

In the chapter you will find :

  • Simple diagrams that direct attention to basic “structural features”
  • Suggestions as to how to avoid common errors due to not making use of the context provided by other features
  • Reminders as
  • to how the “constancies of visual perception” can get in the way of the best of intentions.

After the link, I have included images of drawings made by four of the most innovative and adventurous artists among the Early Modernist Painters. It would seem that the deep  knowledge of anatomy, so clearly evidenced in them, did no harm at all to their expressive energy. The poster by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec that precedes them and the images by Rodin, Degas and Matisse in the Post for Chapter 18  provide evidence for this.

 

CHAPTER 20 – STRUCTURE – BONES AND MUSCLES

 

The poster

structural
Jane Avril by Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the artists featured below

 


Drawings by artists who started by learning about structural basics

structural
Auguste Rodin : Studio drawing (with Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran?)

 

structural
Edgar Degas : Study for early painting (student of Louis Lamothe)

 

structural
Matisse : Studio drawing (with Gustave Moreau?)

 

stuctural
Toulouse-Lautrec :  Studio study from plaster cast (with Léon Bonnat or Fernand Cormon?)

 

*The red arrow in Figure 1 signifies a need for more than one arrow type.


Earlier chapters on the uses and abuses of knowledge:

BOOK 2 : “DRAWING WITH KNOWLEDGE”

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Anatomy reviewed

Anatomy as a guide  to looking

The study of anatomy was for hundreds of years considered as an essential part of a serious artist’s education. In the twentieth century its importance waned. Nowadays, with art school teachers showing less interest in depicting nude models, it has long disappeared from the curriculum of many art schools.  However, non-vocational life-drawing classes seem to be as popular as ever.

In my book, I treat anatomy, not as a means of constructing images, but for other purposes: First as a guide for looking, second, as a means of training the memory and, third, as a consequence of the other two, as a method of enhancing the speed, accuracy and expressive potential of information pick-up skills.

Below are three images by Auguste Rodin. Significantly, he was a pupil and lifelong devotee of the influential 19th century teacher Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, who developed a rigorous method for training the memory.  His aim, like mine, was to help his students to liberate their personal creativity from the straitjacket of slavish copying. He strongly believed in the liberating potential of a deep knowledge of anatomy. He realised that, when you analyse appearances,  the more you have an idea, not only of what to look for but also of what your existing knowledge expects to find, the better equipped to discover their uniqueness. It provides us with the opportunity to make same/difference judgments between our expectations and the uniqueness of what we actually find. In other words, it offers a method that enables us both to use our knowledge to go beyond our knowledge into the unknown and, when we arrive, to have a good chance of expanding our awareness fruitfully.

 

CHAPTER 19 – ANATOMY: A HISTORICAL CONTEXT

 

Images by two artists with an arguably unsurpassed knowledge of human anatomy

I have chosen these two artists because there is good reason to believe that both benefited from the ideas of Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran. Rodin was a student of his in the middle of the 19th century and , at the beginning of the 20th century, forcefully acknowledged his own lifelong debt to his teaching.  Degas was a great friend of Alphonse Legros, who was known as Lecoq Boisbaudran’s star student and who was well known to be a proselytizer  of his ideas.  It seems to be no coincidence that the best statement I know of Lecoq Boisbaudran’s philosophy is the following quotation from by Degas:

“It is all very well to copy what you see; it is much better to draw what you only see in memory. There is a transformation during which the imagination works in conjunction with the memory. You only put down what made an impression on you, that is to say the essential. Then your memory and your invention are freed from the dominating influence of nature. That is why pictures made by a man with a trained memory, who knows thoroughly both the masters and his own craft, are almost always remarkable works; for instance Eugène Delacroix.”

The emphasis on the need for a “trained memory” and a thorough knowledge of the artist’s “craft” reflects the core idea that meaningful “freedom of expression” only comes to those who have experienced rigorous methods of finding out what you are looking at, such as those proposed by Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran. Degas would surely have argued that the expressive freedom shown in the drawings below owed much to the his own and Rodin’s deep and hard won knowledge of human anatomy.

Auguste Rodin

Anatomy
Sleeping model – 1890s : Despite freedom of  mark-making, never straying far from accuracy

 

Rodin
Four action poses : Impossible to achieve without a well trained memory enabling rapid information pick up skills.

 

Rodin
Cambodian dancer 1906 :  Pioneering expressionism, but still showing mastery over anatomy


Edgar Degas

Anatomy
Nude by Degas, which reflects the rigour of his academic training

 

Degas
Degas – at the height of his powers, showing how a deep knowledge of anatomy can underpin expressive mark making

 

Degas
Ukrainian dancers by Degas when going blind. Again deep knowledge underpins expressive mark making

 


Chapters so far published from

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Head movement opportunities

How head movement can help accuracy in drawings from observation

All the books correctly say that, when using the perspective frame and other traditional devices for obtaining accuracy in drawings from observation, head movement must be avoided at all costs. Teachers also warn students, who are trying to obtain accuracy when drawing from observation, that any movements of the head can substantially change both internal and external relationships in the scene they are depicting. Although what they say is true, their warning glosses over the fact that such movements can be  a powerful tool for homing in on accuracy. The purpose of this Post is to provide  the link below to “Chapter 17 – Head movement“, which explains why. Below that link I have included a slightly edited version of the Introductory to that chapter.

CHAPTER 17 – HEAD MOVEMENT

Introductory

Having learnt to find the eye-line, we are ready to make further use of the analogy of the opening window. The purpose of the next two chapters is to become better acquainted with some of the many anomalies of visual perception that regularly plague attempts at accurate drawing from observation. In this way we will learn to become more sensitive to aspects of appearances that we might otherwise overlook. Three particularly pervasive sources of anomalies are:

  1. Turning the head (whether from side to side or up and down)
  2. The imposition of axes of symmetry by our visual systems.
  3.  The constancies of size and shape.

This chapter and the one that follows give examples of each of these, which will appear under three headings: “head movement”, “axes of symmetry” and “the constancies”. Although for explanatory purposes, it is convenient to treat them
separately, we find that any combination of the three can be affecting our percep
tion at the same time. We start with this chapter on  “head movement”

Images illustrating head movement

The three images below show three different views of long boundary the wall of the esplanade. They provide a bit of realism to line drawings found in Figures 1a, 1b, 1c & 1d  in the Chapter 17, to which this Post is inked.

 

Movement
Long wall to the right

 

Head Movement
Long wall to the left

 

Head movement
Long wall head on

 


Chapters so far published from

Book 1 and Book 2 of “Drawing on Both Sides of the Brain” (Volume 1 of the series of four volumes)

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Axes of symmetry & receding surfaces

Axes of near-symmetry

I have to thank two short women and a tall man for revealing to me that “axes of near-symmetry” are intimately related to the phenomenon of “orientation constancy”. The tall man was looking over a low wall and he was depicting its top as sloping down from left to right. The short women drew it as horizontal. The fact that the man could see a particular field beyond it that the women were unable to see, meant that he was the only one of the three that was being influenced by what I later came to call the “bakery facade illusion”. The women were right that the top of the wall was horizontal. To find why the man was also right, click on the link below to Chapter 18 of my book “Drawing with Knowledge”. Its title is “Axes of symmetry, recession and the constancies”.

 

CHAPTER 18 : AXES OF SYMMETRY & RECEDING SURFACES

 


Some photos showing axes of near-symmetry and receding surfaces

 

axes of symmetry
The old bakery facade, before restoration. The axis of near-symmetry clearly slopes upwards, away from the viewer

 

axes of near-symmetry
The old bakery facade transformed into new homes. The wall top, the roof bottom and the axis of near-symmetry are very nearly parallel.

 

axes of near-symmetry
The “bakery facade illusion” in rue de a Porte Neuve. The axis of near-symmetry of the retaning wall to the left slopes up away from the viewer.

 

receding surfaces
Receding fields with vertical cypress tree as guide  to analysis

 

receding surfaces
Setting off into a receding landscape. The lowest part of the white house is not far off being the height of the walkers above  their heads

 


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Eye-line problems

Finding the eye-line

Establishing an eye-line is the first step if you are going to use the the rules of linear perspective for constructing an image. The same is true, if you are using the same rules as an aid to drawing from observation. However,  whereas its use in construction is straightforward, its use in drawing  from observation is far from it. The purpose of this Post is to explain why. Below you will find a link to “Chapter 16 – Finding the eye-line“. I have also included a slightly edited version of the Introductory to that chapter.

CHAPTER 16 – FINDING THE EYE LINE

Introductory

After the session in the studio, we move out into the street. From the demonstrations using the opening window, we have learnt that any straight edge that lines up with the eye-line remains horizontal no matter at which angle it is relative to our line of vision. If we are to make use of this knowledge, we need to find the eye-line. As a general rule, students who come to my school assume that this is easy to do, but the evidence of the drawing they make suggests that they are likely to be deceiving themselves.

 

eye-line
Making it easy to see the slope of the esplanade wall

 

Eye-line
Asking for trouble: explanation why in the chapter

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Chapters so far published from

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The eye in diagrams

The surprising eye

The eye is full of surprises. The biggest ones come from the structure of retina that is situated at the back of it. The purpose of this Post is to provide a link to images and explanatory captions that tell us more about this starting gate of visual processing. At first sight, much of what we find strikes us as bizarre. But, when we delve more deeply, we discover the considerable advantages of the way things actually are. It turns out that nothing would work nearly as well as it does, if things were arranged any differently. The images and their captions will go a long way towards explaining why. In the process, they will help readers to get a better understanding of how the eye/brain combination makes practical use of the information contained in the ever-changing patterns of light coming into the eye.

The link to the diagrams

Click on the link below to access the images and captions referred to. They are extracted from ‘The Glossary‘ to the four volumes I am in the process of publishing on this website.

 

GLOSSARY DIAGRAMS (1)-THE EYE

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What happens next

Upon leaving the retina, the neural signals travel in two directions. Some go up the optic nerve to the region of the neocortex known as ‘Visual Area 1′. Others take a completely different route that makes contact with the regions of the “Old Brain”. These play a central role in visual perception as we experience it. For example, they play their part in eye movements, spatial awareness, affective responses, multimodal processing, whole-field relations and much besides. Images and captions relating to both these routes will be posted later on this website, in a separate entry, entitled, “Visual Regions in the Brain”.

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Images of blood vessels, neurons and and neural processes in the eye.

The human retina contains a very large number of neurons (cells) and a very much lager number of neural of processes providing links between them. It also features a dense network of blood vessels that supply blood to them. Together these make a significant barrier to the passage of any light that strikes them. Until I learnt better, this light-blocking function did not seem to be of much of interest.

What changed my mind was the discovery that the light-sensitive cone and rod receptors, that transform light-energy into neural signals, do not face towards the incoming light, but away from it. Consequently, the light coming into the eyes has to penetrate this light-impeding layer of neurons, neural processes and blood vessels, before it reaches the receptors. To add to my surprise, it turned out that the light-receiving end of the receptors is buried in a layer of dark matter. It was some time before I realised how these seemingly bizarre arrangements make possible visual perception as we know it.

The barrier confronting the light that enters the eye

It turns out that the barrier of neurons, neural processes and blood vessels compensates for the fact that the rod receptors are very much more sensitive to light than the cone receptors. The benefit of this state of affairs is that it enables a necessary degree of functional equality between the responses to the incoming light of the two different receptor-types. Needless to say, there would be no the equalling up, if the light striking the less sensitive cone receptors were to be subjected to the same impediments. This explains why the forces of evolution have created a gap in the neuron and blood vessel barrier in front of the region known as the fovea, exactly where the incoming light strikes the cone receptors.

Glare-blindness

If the equalling up process did not take place, the rod receptors would be bleached out whenever the incoming light was strong enough to activate the cone receptors. The result would be a massive degree of glare-blindness in daylight conditions.

Dire consequences

If they were effectively blind, the rod receptors would not be able to participate in daylight visual processing. One consequences would be that no neural computations of whole-field relations could take place. One of the many aspects of visual processing  that would rendered impossible would be the separation of reflect-light from body-colour. As a result there would be neither colour constancy, nor the use of the information residing in the separated out reflected-light. If this were so,  pretty well all that I have written in my book “Painting with Light” would be nonsense.

Burying the receptors in dark matter

The burying of the light-sensitive receptor heads in the dark matter is easier to explain. It prevents the light from scattering from one receptor to the next and, consequently, reduces blurring.

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The eye
Figure 1: Blood vessels blocking light from the ‘rod’  photosensitive  receptors.  The small darker disc is where the light sensitive ‘cone’ receptors are located. Notice that no blood vessels impede the passage of incoming light to these.

 

The eye
Figure 2: This image of a small section of a network of neural processes gives an inkling of an idea of the extent to which these these can block the incoming light.  For reasons explained above, the blockage only applies to ‘rod’  photosensitive receptors. It does not apply to the ‘cone’ photosensitive receptors .

 

The eye
Figure  3: A diagram of cell-types in each of the five layers of the retina. The massive numbers of each of these contribute to the blocking of the light arriving at the ‘rod’  photosensitive receptors.

Some numbers and sizes

Although the precise number of neurons and neural processes in the retina is unknown, it is certainly in the hundreds of millions. One estimate for the sum total of light sensitive receptor cells is approximately  150 million. All this packs into an astonishingly thin layer (less than 0.5 mm). The extent of retina is not much larger than a 10p piece.

A reference

If you want a comprehensive account of the component parts and structure of the retina, you could consult the relevant pages of the website of the The National Library of Medicine.  You will find them dizzyingly more complex than the grossly oversimplified information given either above or in the ‘Glossary‘ extract.

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CHAPTER 15 : CORE IDEAS

Some core ideas demonstrated

The purpose of this “Post” is to provide the link (below) to my introduction to “Chapter 15 : The core ideas“, the third chapter of “Drawing with Knowledge” (the second BOOK in the two book volume).  The main subject dealt with is how to use the core ideas of Linear Perspective as a guides to looking, when drawing from observation. As far as I know, this is the the only place you will find it discussed at length. A preliminary idea of what this means can be found in first paragraph of the “Introductory” to this chapter (you will find a slightly edited version next, under the title of “Some core ideas introduced“). Further below, you will find links both to all published chapters from “Drawing with Feeling” (the first BOOK in the two book volume) and to earlier chapters of  BOOK 2.

CHAPTER 15 – PERSPECTIVE DEMONSTRATION

Some core ideas introduced

As already explained, the rules of linear perspective were developed by Renaissance artists as aids to image-construction. This chapter starts the process of showing ways in which they can be used as a guide to looking. For this purpose a sound understanding of the core ideas that underpin them is necessary. Although many books attempt to provide this by referring to different examples of perspective constructions, using a variety of diagrams, they never really show how these relate (or fail to relate) how we see in the real world. My approach is very different. Eschewing diagrams, it makes use of  participatory demonstrations, using real world props. In addition to revealing the core ideas behind the standard rules, these provide a fascinating introduction to some of the seeming anomalies of visual experience.

Few people would disagree with anyone who tells them that objects appear to get smaller as they recede into the distance. This phenomenon is one of two core ideas behind of the laws of linear perspective, as taught in art schools. The other is the influence of the eye-line. If these were all that mattered, there would be a great deal less to write about in this chapter. However they are far from being so. The reason is not only that the crucial role of the picture plane, as the third variable, is too often neglected, in the interests of simplicity. Even more important, from the point of view of the ideas presented in this chapter, is the fact that appearances can be dramatically influenced by the constancies of size, orientation and shape, as well as by the context in which they occur. This is because the constancy phenomena, which are context dependent, push appearances in different, often opposite directions to those predicted by the laws of linear perspective as conventionally taught. The resulting confusion can cause all sorts of problems for those who seek to use them as an aid when attempting to make accurate drawings from observation. This chapter shows how interactive demonstrations can be used to help people understand the reasons why. Subsequent chapters both continue this process and suggest many practical ways of using the knowledge that will be made available.

 

Two views of the Chateau Corduries, followed by a question,

core ideas
1 :  Château de Corduries seen from the studio window

 

core ideas
2 : The image of the Château de Corduries enlarged

 

A question: How do you change the size of the château as seen from the studio, without leaving the studio or without using a magnifying glass?

 

core ideas
William Stots : Anamorphic portrait of Edward VI  (top as  seen from front and  bottom as seen from side)

 

core ideas
Painting School of Montmiral studio fireplace as seen from side – chalk pastel

______________________________

 

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Linear Perspective : Chapter 14 :

The mixed history of linear perspective

The purpose of this “Post” is to provide the link (below) to my introduction to “Chapter 14 : Linear Perspective“, the second chapter of “Drawing with Knowledge” (the second BOOK in the two book volume).  The main subject dealt with is uses and abuses of Linear Perspective.  The chapter explains the purpose for which the rules the rule of linear perspective were developed and how over the years  artists and teachers came to use them for other purposes for which they are not suited. It also explains how the rules of linear perspective can be used in new ways. A preliminary idea of what this means can be found in  first paragraph of the “Introductory” to this chapter, which I have included below. Also see below for links to all published chapters from “Drawing with Feeling“, the first BOOK in the two book volume.

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CHAPTER 14 – LINEAR PERSPECTIVE

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“Introductory” – from Chapter 14 : Linear perspective

Academic tradition divides the subject of “perspective” into two aspects, known as “aerial” and “linear”. Aerial perspective concerns colour changes due to the influence on appearances of atmospheric particles situated between the eye and an object being viewed at a distance, and is dealt with in a separate volume. In this book attention will be confined to linear perspective. Moreover, to avoid misunderstandings, it is important to stress that no attempt will be made to compete with the many existing texts on this subject which demonstrate that, when properly applied, the well-known laws can enable the construction of moderately realistic images without the need to actually look at anything. As far as I know there is nothing of interest to add to these, although, a great deal needs modifying in many of the texts on the subject which regrettably give us oversimplified and therefore misleading versions of this complex and elegant subject. Rather, in this volume, the laws of linear perspective are treated in a completely novel way: not as a set of instructions for the placement of lines on but as a tool for guiding looking strategies. This transformation is achieved by placing them in the context of ideas coming both from 19th century research into visual phenomena and from much more recent discoveries relating to the functioning of eyes and brains. In PART 2, the subject of anatomy will be treated in an analogous way for analogous reasons.spacer bar

Some images relating to the theme of linear perspective

Illustrating Brunellesci’s perspective mirror set-up (maItaly : Italian History and Art)

 

Linear perspective
Pietro Perugino, Christ handing the keys to St Peter 1481-1482.

 

Linear perspective
School of Athens by Raphael in the Stanza della Segnatura 1509-1511

 

linear perspective
Albrecht Dürer – perspective device for obtaining accuracy

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A list of  chapters from “Drawing with Feeling“, book 1 of “Drawing on Both Sides of the Brain

Chapters 10 to 13 to be published later

A list of  chapters from book 1 of “Drawing on Both Sides of the Brain

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Perspective and anatomy revisited

New ways of making use of perspective and anatomy

The purpose of this ‘Post’ is to provide the link (see below) to my introduction to “Drawing with Knowledge”, the second BOOK in the two book volume (See below for links with the published chapters of “Drawing with Feeling“, the first BOOK in the two book volume). The two main subjects dealt with are Linear Perspective and Anatomy.

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BOOK TWO,  CHAPTER 13 -DRAWING WITH KNOWLEDGE

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Do the rules of perspective and anatomy help or hinder accuracy?

A key property of the world we live in is that we will never perceive any of its contents as the same on more than one occasion. The list of reasons why includes the influence on appearances of:

  • The almost infinite variety of species and object types
  • The invariable uniqueness of genetic differences between members of the same species
  • Ageing
  • Environmental conditions, including  variations in the direction and strength of primary and secondary light sources, degree of atmospheric filtering, etc.,
  • Occlusions by other objects
  • Viewing angles and viewing distances
  • Visual illusions.

However seeing something (even the same object) as the same on more than one occasion is what we have to do if we are to recognise it.  This means that:

  • Recognition and the content of our long term memories must depend on generalisations
  • There will always be a degree of uniqueness in the appearance of every object we try to draw or paint from observation.

From all this we can conclude that:

  • Achieving accuracy in drawing or painting from observation will always require finding out about aspects of appearance that cannot be stored in our memories.
  • Following the rules of linear perspective or anatomy can never achieve accuracy in drawing or painting from observation.

So what can they help us to do?

  • The rules of linear perspective and of anatomy can help us construct plausible images from the imagination (See examples below)
  • The rules of linear perspective and of anatomy can help us to know what to look for.

The second of these provides the main subject matter of this book.

 

Some studies using linear perspective and anatomy.

  • Linear Perspective

perspective and anatomy
Structural study of complex object
perspective and anatomy
Piero della Francesca : studies of a head
perspective and anatomy
Piero della Francesca : Use of linear perspective in his painting “The flaggelation of Christ”

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  • Anatomy

perspective and anatomy
Visalius : anatomical study from his famous book
perspective and anatomy
Leonardo da Vince : study of arm musculature
perspective and anatomy
Michelangelo : Page of studies

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A list of  chapters from “Drawing with Feeling”, book 1 of “Drawing on Both Sides of the Brain”

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