This website is dedicated to the classical atelier training approach of Cast Drawing & Bargue Drawing.
The former art academies used this approach to teach the art student on how to see form. With a drawing cast you have a colorless still standing model which makes it much easier to see the form for a beginning art student. This way the student learns how to see without being distracted by color or little movement like life models do (models are also paid by hours while a drawing cast is a one time investment).
Drawing as Foundation
To be able to paint realistically it is essential to be able to draw realistically. Many ongoing Artists slip up doing the more complex subject of painting too early without having profound education in drawing – the easier accomplished skill. Drawing trains the eyes. Practising drawing trains perception to a high degree and sets the foundation for painting – that is working with color. Not until the student has mastered perception of form, he is able to switch to color.
One should always be aware that the classical approach trains the eye and optical perception to a degree that one does not need optical tools. These can be indeed counterproductive, since they can be a source of errors, one is not concious about it immediately. The end result often is a painting that is somehow not correct. For example a projector can cause a distortion caused by the roundness of the lens. If one draws such a projected template it will be distorted and does not correspond with the perception one gets by observing precisely. The classical atelier dispenses with those shortcuts that most often hit the end of the road. With a sufficient education and discipline it is possible to train ones perception to a degree that those tools will be surpassed. Our eye – and the brain – percieves even the slightest error.
The student in a classical atelier starts by copying two dimensional references. Since the 19th century the ateliers use the references by Charles Bargue. Click the button to read a tutorial on how to do a Bargue Drawing.
The student´s next step in a classical atelier – after having done a couple of Bargue drawings – is the cast drawing. These most often are anatomical plaster casts. Plaster is white so there is no color distracting the student.