Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cast versus Academy

Here are two interesting images from the 19th century that perfectly describe an academic approach to the figure. Hippolyte-Jean Flandrin (1809-1864) Standing Male Academy, Facing Left and Pierre- Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Two Studies of a Plaster Cast, verso and recto show the male figure in both a conceived, structural context and a fully realized, resolved one. Renoir clearly finds large mass relationships, while arranging the geometry with a variety of planes. I think Flandrin is showing off with his perfect placement of the figure. One of an academy's precepts is that the figure touch its vertical or horizontal boundaries and this on does it on two accounts. I enjoy the passage the head makes into the background as well as the calligraphic mark of the soleus.

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