DRAWING is the expression of an idea: “Art must come from within, and not from without. This fact has led some to assert that the study of nature is not essential to the student, and that careful training in the study of the representation of the actual appearance is mechanical and harmful. Such persons forget that all art ideas and sentiments must be based upon natural objects, and that a person who cannot represent truly what he sees will be entirely unable to express the simplest ideal conceptions so that others may appreciate them. Study of nature is, then, of the first and greatest importance to the art student.More info →
THERE are various methods of introducing an artist to his public. One of the best is to describe how you saved his life in the Bush in ’82; or he saved yours; and then you go on: “Little did either of us anticipate in those far-off days that Fougasse was destined to become . . .” Another way is to leave Fougasse out altogether, and concentrate, how happily, on your own theories of black-and-white drawing, or politics, or the decline of the churches; after all, an introduction doesn’t last long, and he has the rest of the book to himself. Perhaps, however, it is kinder to keep the last paragraph for him: “Take these little sketches by Fougasse, for instance . . .” and the reader, if he cares to any longer, can then turn over and take them. Left to ourselves, that is the method we should adopt. But the publisher is at our elbow. “This is an introduction,” he says. “For Heaven’s sake introduce the fellow.”More info →
Leonardo Da Vinci, the many-sided genius of the Italian Renaissance, was born, as his name implies, at the little town of Vinci, which is about six miles from Empoli and twenty miles west of Florence. Vinci is still very inaccessible, and the only means of conveyance is the cart of a general carrier and postman, who sets out on his journey from Empoli at sunrise and sunset. Outside a house in the middle of the main street of Vinci to-day a modern and white-washed bust of the great artist is pointed to with much pride by the inhabitants. Leonardo's traditional birthplace on the outskirts of the town still exists, and serves now as the headquarters of a farmer and small wine exporter.More info →
As in the case of "The Bases of Design," to which this is intended to form a companion volume, the substance of the following chapters on Line and Form originally formed a series of lectures delivered to the students of the Manchester Municipal School of Art.
There is no pretension to an exhaustive treatment of a subject it would be difficult enough to exhaust, and it is dealt with in a way intended to bear rather upon the practical work of an art school, and to be suggestive and helpful to those face to face with the current problems of drawing and design.
MODERN scientific publications, although they may in some or even many cases equal in their scientific quality the memoirs of earlier workers, do not, on the average, reach a high standard as regards illustration. For instance, in Great Britain botany is pre-eminent in its morphological aspects; it should therefore follow that the illustrations, which form so important a part of such papers, should be beyond reproach. This is not always so, a fact which must be patent to anyone with the slightest critical knowledge who looks through a typical journal. This is a fact much to be regretted, since many of the earlier scientists were accomplished draughtsmen and, indeed, often artists; in this connection the Hookers and Pro-fessor Daniel Oliver may be mentioned. The implication is not intended that there are no good amateur draughtsmen nowadays; there are, and in some cases pos-sessed of great ability. The beautiful work of Church in his Floral Mechanisms may be cited as an example.More info →
Art, with its finite means, cannot hope to record the infinite variety and complexity of Nature, and so contents itself with a partial statement, addressing this to the imagination for the full and perfect meaning. This inadequation, and the artificial adjustments which it involves, are tolerated by right of what is known as artistic convention; and as each art has its own particular limitations, so each has its own particular conventions. Sculpture reproduces the forms of Nature, but discards the color without any shock to our ideas of verity; Painting gives us the color, but not the third dimension, and we are satisfied; and Architecture ispurely conventional, since it does not even aim at the imitation of natural form.More info →
(A Complete Treatise on the Principle and Technique Necessary to the Painting)
Books of instruction in the practice of painting have rarely been successful. Chiefly because they have been too narrow in their point of view, and have dealt more with recipes than with principles. It is not possible to give any one manner of painting that shall be right for all men and all subjects. To say "do thus and so" will not teach any one to paint. But there are certain principles which underlie all painting, and all schools of painting; and to state clearly the most important of these will surely be helpful, and may accomplish something.More info →
["The Elements of Drawing" was written during the winter of 1856. The First Edition was published in 1857; the Second followed in the same year, with some additions and slight alterations. The Third Edition consisted of sixth thousand, 1859; seventh thousand, 1860; and eighth thousand, 1861.
The work was partly reproduced in "Our Sketching Club," by the Rev. R. St. John Tyrwhitt, M.A., 1874; with new editions in 1875, 1882, and 1886.
Mr. Ruskin meant, during his tenure of the Slade Professorship at Oxford, to recast his teaching, and to write a systematic manual for the use of his Drawing School, under the title of "The Laws of Fésole." Of this only vol. i. was completed, 1879; second edition, 1882.
As, therefore, "The Elements of Drawing" has never been completely superseded, and as many readers of Mr. Ruskin's works have expressed a desire to possess the book in its old form, it is now reprinted as it stood in 1859.]
Leonardo's views of aesthetic are all important in his philosophy of life and art. The worker's thoughts on his craft are always of interest. They are doubly so when there is in them no trace of literary self-consciousness to blemish their expression. He recorded these thoughts at the instant of their birth, for a constant habit of observation and analysis had early developed with him into a second nature. His ideas were penned in the same fragmentary way as they presented themselves to his mind, perhaps with no intention of publishing them to the world. But his ideal of art depended intimately, none the less, on the system he had thrown out seemingly in so haphazard a manner.More info →