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Old 05-14-2015, 05:48 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzie
Exardesco, this is what I found when I looked regarding Ingres possible use of photography: http://www.americanscientist.org/boo...ra-obscurities
Oh dear... from the site: (quotes in red.)
The story begins when he visits an exhibit of paintings and drawings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres at the National Gallery in London in 1999. At the exhibit, Hockney is struck, in particular, by the pen-and-ink drawings and, most specifically, by the portraits, which were produced around 1816.
Interesting. When did Ingres stop using graphite? To continue with fascinating observations about the "pen-and-ink drawings":
What catches his painter's eye is that, relative to their "unnaturally small" size (they are often no larger than 12 by 8 inches) they seem incredibly detailed and "uncannily 'accurate.'"
Umm...what does accuracy have to do with using normal sized drawing paper?
In art history circles, Ingres has often been praised for his talent as a draftsman, but Hockney, who knows from his own experience as a portrait painter how hard it is to produce such detail, suspects that something else might be at work.
His own crappy draftsmanship? Nahh...
In the pen-and-ink markings Ingres had made early in the 19th century, Hockney believes he can detect Andy Warhol's line.
He can't see that the "line" is graphite, but he does detect (oh my!) Andy Warhol's line.
He knows that Warhol used a slide projector to project photographs from which he traced his images, and Hockney is convinced Ingres must have used a similar device.
That's logic, hard at work.
Hockney sends his assistant on a tour of the antique shops in Los Angeles to find and purchase a camera lucida. He then settles down to recreate Ingres's working conditions, drawing a series of line portraits of his own with its aid. Secret Knowledge includes 18 portraits executed over the period of nearly a year, which clearly demonstrate Hockney's growing mastery of the instrument.
I believe he personally provides this comparison:



Uncanny! I'm convinced.
Hockney singles out those paintings that, to be rendered convincingly, require a sensitivity to shadow and light and minute detail. He notices that clothing worn by a figure in a painting made by Giotto between 1303 and 1306 is "done in a simple graphic way," whereas Giovanni Battista Moroni in 1553 "is painting the most elaborate of dresses with a bold design that is always believable on its surface, following the folds, and with subtle highlights and shadows all depicted."...How could this change have happened so suddenly, over such a brief period of time?
Why not ask the same question about sculpture? How did this:

So quickly become this?

(Some crude precursor to the 3-D printer, no doubt.)
Dismissing "better drawing skills"[sic]as a possible answer...
Preposterous! Better drawing skills than The Great One?...
Reading about Hockney on art history teaches one nothing about art history, and everything about that prevaricating nincompoop, David Hockney.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:16 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

This is so cool David - not only have you demonstrated that Ingres used photographs - after all, no one could obviously do a decent drawing in a short time right !? - but that he must have also invented a time machine. The drawing on the right appears to be dated 1819, almost precisely twenty years before photographic cameras became available!

I hate to cite David Hockney, who greatly exaggerates the links between photography and other optical tools and the works of the old masters... but...

I have always deeply admired the drawings of Ingres. I first came across them more than 40 years ago as an art student in Bradford. They were held up as an ideal in drawing: sensitive, full of character and uncannily accurate about physiognomy.

In January I saw the Ingres exhibition at the National Gallery three times, bought the catalogue and, after a little dallying in Paris, returned to Los Angeles. I read the catalogue from cover to cover and noticed that it rarely, if at all, talked about technique. It was fascinating about the characters Ingres portrayed, but an artist might ask another question: how was this done?

I had been intrigued by the scale of the drawings: why so small, almost unnaturally small, for such accuracy? I looked at them and then blew some up on a Xerox machine to examine the line more closely. To my surprise, they reminded me at times of Warhol's drawing - lines made without hesitation, bold and strong - but I knew that essentially Warhol's were traced. Could these have been done the same way?

The faces in the portrait drawings by Ingres have likenesses that one feels are true. Like real faces, each is very different, but likenesses are achieved by the relationship between the eyes, nose and mouth. Mouths are especially difficult to draw and paint (as John Singer Sargent said, "A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth"). The mouths on these drawings were most clearly visible but drawn very, very small. To anyone who has drawn faces from life they seem uncanny. I found myself fascinated by them and kept studying the reproductions...

I looked closer and closer and began to think that some mechanical device must have been used here. I remembered many years ago buying a camera lucida: I tried it for a day, found it too difficult to use, and forgot about it. So I asked Richard to nip down to our local art store and buy one - I knew they would have one. I made a drawing of Richard using it. It is a very simple device - quite small, really just a prism, but it enabled me to place the eyes, nose and mouth very accurately. I then drew from direct observation.

It is merely a tool to place positions very precisely. You have still to be extremely observant and skillful with the pencil and only Ingres could make drawings like this. When I first suggested my theory to art historians they seemed horrified, as though this knowledge would diminish the work. Why, I don't know. Who else made drawings as good as these? Ingres witnessed the birth of photography. His rival Delaroche made the statement, on seeing the daguerreotype, "From today painting is dead." He perhaps meant that the hand inside the camera had been replaced with chemicals.

I think the history of photography and painting in the 19th century has yet to be explored. People hide things - trade secrets as it were - but it is interesting to note that Degas, a great admirer of Ingres, was fascinated with photography.


Did Ingres use any optical tools? I suspect that he, would have experimented with them as did Delacroix, his chief rival. Historically, artists have always been among the first to take advantage of new tools, techniques, materials, and methods. Most of us have probably employed the computer in some way or another toward the realization of our art.

Looking at many of Ingres' drawings in real life I was struck by the same sense that they were uncannily accurate without any suggestion of corrections. But I would not suggest that such could only be explained as the result of the use of photographs.

One thing noticeable when looking at any number of the drawings in real life is that the drawings show a different quality or handling between the portrait faces and the clothing and background which may suggest that only the faces were drawn from life while the clothing was drawn later draped upon manikins... or models affording him far more time. The portrait of the Comtesse d'Haussonville, for example, was worked on for over 3 years. It would be absurd to assume that Ms. d'Haussonville sat in Ingres' studio for the whole of that time. Similar techniques were employed by Rubens, Van Dyck and others in painting Kings, Emperors, and other sitters not likely to spend weeks or months posing for a mere painter.

Another possible explanation of the absolute fluidity and accuracy without any signs of correction in these drawings is that Ingres may have employed tracing. The artist could have made repeated drawings, adjustments, and refinements until the drawing was what he wanted, then trace this onto the final paper in order to eliminate traces of pentimenti. Degas employed similar techniques in any number of his pastels and ultimately this is the approach used by many old masters working out the composition and drawing on paper before transferring this "cartoon" to the final surface. This technique was more common to the linear artists of the Roman/Florentine school than to the more painterly Venetians or their Northern painterly followers (Rubens and Rembrandt)... but then Ingres, following in the Neo-Classical tradition, was an artist obsessed with line and clearly in the Roman/Florentine tradition. Raphael was his idol.

Scouring the web will lead to numerous discussions of Ingres' use of the photograph and other optical devices. About decade ago there was an exhibition at the Met, NY, entitled, Met's ''The Dawn of Photography: French Daguerreotypes, 1839-1853.'' Obviously, Ingres could not have used photographs until 1839... or later... still scholars suggest that while
Ingres was evidently ambivalent about the new medium... that he publicly hated it... in private he must have admired it. He commissioned daguerreotypes of some of his paintings, and he was was reported by contemporaries to have sent some of his portrait subjects to be photographed and eventually agreed to have photographs of his art made and sold.

Either way, I don't think the use of optical devices is "cheating" or something that artists attempt to hide. Neither do I imagine that it comes near to explaining the technical brilliance of Ingres, Vermeer, Caravaggio, etc... We all have access to optical tools and media Ingres and others could not have even imagined... yet we are not overwhelmed with artists with the mastery of Vermeer, Ingres, etc...

By the way... I like the personality of Hockney's portraits... even if the fail to achieve anything approaching the skill of Ingres'.
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Last edited by stlukesguild : 05-14-2015 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:10 AM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Another possible explanation of the absolute fluidity and accuracy without any signs of correction in these drawings is that Ingres may have employed tracing. The artist could have made repeated drawings, adjustments, and refinements until the drawing was what he wanted, then trace this onto the final paper in order to eliminate traces of pentimenti.

This is more than a possibility, and was probably one of his preferred techniques. Many Ingres drawings are done on tracing paper subsequently laid down on something more opaque.

Did Ingres use any optical tools? I suspect that he, would have experimented with them as did Delacroix, his chief rival. Historically, artists have always been among the first to take advantage of new tools, techniques, materials, and methods. Most of us have probably employed the computer in some way or another toward the realization of our art.

But there were dozens of eyewitness accounts- surely someone would have mentioned something of the sort? I remember reading one account of someone watching him draw a portrait, I'll have to look for it.

By the way... I like the personality of Hockney's portraits... even if the fail to achieve anything approaching the skill of Ingres'.

Even so, you can't deny the fact that they look rather amateurish, and to compare them to even the lowest quality Ingres is nothing short of insanity.
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:25 AM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exardesco
But there were dozens of eyewitness accounts- surely someone would have mentioned something of the sort? I remember reading one account of someone watching him draw a portrait, I'll have to look for it.

I'd also be interested, if you find it! Lemme know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by exardesco
Even so, you can't deny the fact that they look rather amateurish, and to compare them to even the lowest quality Ingres is nothing short of insanity.

They may not be as good as Ingres, but surely are nonetheless the work of a Modern Master...
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:36 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

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Originally Posted by Batman55
They may not be as good as Ingres, but surely are nonetheless the work of a Modern Master...

You must be a troll... or are you joking?
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Old 05-15-2015, 01:46 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild

I hate to cite David Hockney, who greatly exaggerates the links between photography and other optical tools and the works of the old masters... but...

[...] (italics are Hockney, I'm not blaming StL for them )
I had been intrigued by the scale of the drawings: why so small, almost unnaturally small, for such accuracy? I looked at them and then blew some up on a Xerox machine to examine the line more closely. To my surprise, they reminded me at times of Warhol's drawing - lines made without hesitation, bold and strong - but I knew that essentially Warhol's were traced. Could these have been done the same way?

Quote Hockney all you want; I find him stunned as a brick and hence entertaining to bat around when I get a chance...

Why so small? Lots of reasons - Small is one of the techniques he was trained on, look at his medallion size portraits - 3 to 5 inches in diameter - in his juvenalia. Small was popular; the French were, as ever, into little trinkets and bobbles, particularly during the Directoire. Small has history - consider (for example) this 1.8"x 2" self portrait etching by Rembrandt (try doing that with a camera lucida, ) Small was popular with tourists - and remember, he really came into his own as a portrait draftsman when he had more or less had been ridiculed out of France and was residing in Italy in his 30's (not that a lot of his earlier work wasn't gorgeous), and his work for tourists kept the wolf from the door.
And, from a neurophysics POV, small puts less demands on the integrational aspects of perception. The focusing part of the eye covers an area of vision about equivalent to the size of the full moon when you stare up at the sky, and it is the part of the eye most sensitive to line and tone. A large image in your mind is, roughly speaking, a mosaic of these stitched together combined with other information (like colour), creating lots more room for individual variation ("error").

The rest of Hockney's "thesis" boils down to the fact that he can't do it, so Ingres couldn't either. Welcome to the "it's all about me" world"; in that sense Hockney really is a painter of our times .


Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
Did Ingres use any optical tools? I suspect that he, would have experimented with them as did Delacroix, his chief rival. Historically, artists have always been among the first to take advantage of new tools, techniques, materials, and methods. Most of us have probably employed the computer in some way or another toward the realization of our art.

Certainly he might have played around with them, I have no reason to believe one way or another. But why go to the bother of ever using them to any great extent, if one is a great draftsman and confident of one's work? Especially when one is working with normal people as sitters, and not skilled models. Normal people move, breath, blink, and do all sorts of other things that would make trying to trace from camera lucida projection extremely difficult. OTOH, even a moderately competent draftsman should be able to interpolate, from what he or she sees in the moment to moment variations in life, back to the drawing on the board. The better the visual memory and interpretive skills, the easier it becomes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
Looking at many of Ingres' drawings in real life I was struck by the same sense that they were uncannily accurate without any suggestion of corrections. But I would not suggest that such could only be explained as the result of the use of photographs.

One thing noticeable when looking at any number of the drawings in real life is that the drawings show a different quality or handling between the portrait faces and the clothing and background which may suggest that only the faces were drawn from life while the clothing was drawn later draped upon manikins... or models affording him far more time. The portrait of the Comtesse d'Haussonville, for example, was worked on for over 3 years. It would be absurd to assume that Ms. d'Haussonville sat in Ingres' studio for the whole of that time. Similar techniques were employed by Rubens, Van Dyck and others in painting Kings, Emperors, and other sitters not likely to spend weeks or months posing for a mere painter.

W/r to the "uncanny accuracy", why not just accept that some people - a very small number - have that natural ability (usually complemented by rigourous training)? From Gould playing his sewing machine Bach, or Mozart transcribing the Miserere mei, Deus at the age of 14 with one hearing (slightly modified on the second), to Nadia Comaneci or Stephen Wiltshire, some people just excel at what they do. In every field of human activity, there's that tiny percent that is just superb at what they do.

As for the differences between the drawings of faces, and the drawings of clothes, there are much simpler explanations. First of all, composition and dramatic effect. His drawing habits bring the face immediately into sharp focus - and remember this was the era of rising individualism, when for many people the individual was more important than more materialistic concerns, like station in life.

Also, a far larger share our brains are concerned with processing the face than other aspects, so that one can be much freer with clothing than with faces (and hands) and still have the result be believable. Working with fabric, all you really need is the broad gestural outlines and some notation to indicate things like the placement of decoration, the weight and stiffness of the fabric, etc; from there it should be relatively routine for a well trained artist to go to a believable representation if they so chose, or for a typical viewer to fill it in with their imagination (a la Gombrich's "& etc." principle).


Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
Another possible explanation of the absolute fluidity and accuracy without any signs of correction in these drawings is that Ingres may have employed tracing. The artist could have made repeated drawings, adjustments, and refinements until the drawing was what he wanted, then trace this onto the final paper in order to eliminate traces of pentimenti. Degas employed similar techniques in any number of his pastels and ultimately this is the approach used by many old masters working out the composition and drawing on paper before transferring this "cartoon" to the final surface. This technique was more common to the linear artists of the Roman/Florentine school than to the more painterly Venetians or their Northern painterly followers (Rubens and Rembrandt)... but then Ingres, following in the Neo-Classical tradition, was an artist obsessed with line and clearly in the Roman/Florentine tradition. Raphael was his idol.

There are lots of explanations, though the simplest would be simply that he was good at what he did. But yes, there are lots of techniques that could have helped him. A really simple one is to note that he worked in pencil on paper. The rubber eraser was invented around 1770. Here's a very simple recipe - draw the contours lightly, rub the drawing with a soft cloth to remove most of the graphite (which leaves a bit of tone and traces of the line); redraw while correcting whatever errors there are, rub again, etc. etc. until you get something along the lines of what you want. Use the eraser - or a bit of crustless white bread - to create highlights. when you get towards what you want, strengthen the drawing and add fine detail, like eyelashes and that curly hair...It's dead simple and the method has been around practically forever. Though I doube Ingres even needed something that "sophisticated".

Certainly tracing would have been useful, but he still needs to trace something Also note though that lightweight tracing paper would useful because it facilitated transfers to other media, like engraving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stlukesguild
Either way, I don't think the use of optical devices is "cheating" or something that artists attempt to hide. Neither do I imagine that it comes near to explaining the technical brilliance of Ingres, Vermeer, Caravaggio, etc... We all have access to optical tools and media Ingres and others could not have even imagined... yet we are not overwhelmed with artists with the mastery of Vermeer, Ingres, etc...

By the way... I like the personality of Hockney's portraits... even if the fail to achieve anything approaching the skill of Ingres'.

I guess I feel differently about photography. I like and respect photography as an art in itself, but on the whole (there are a few exceptions) I do find the more clearly dependent on photography a painter is the less I respect the work or the person, if they are doing this as fine art, and not just as a pleasant hobby. That's because it represents a willing submission to groupthink via taste; if art is an expression of how one perceives the world, then doing this is a statement that the artist wants to give up their own unique perception in favour of what is commonly held to be "true", rather than working to improve their own perception and means of expression.

Hockney's work I just find, for the most part, boorish; I do think though that in one or two of his pencil portraits there was some indications of real talent. It's too bad he turned out as dyspeptic as he did.

Cheers;
Chris
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Last edited by caldwell.brobeck : 05-15-2015 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 05-15-2015, 02:39 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batman55
They may not be as good as Ingres, but surely are nonetheless the work of a Modern Master...

You've been having too much punch lately. They are not even as good as many a college art student's drawings.
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:33 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

I'd also be interested, if you find it! Lemme know.

I believe it's contained somewhere within a 600 page book on the portraits of Ingres, and after a cursory glance, I'm not planning to look that hard until I re-read it. I think it was a memory of Renoir's.

They may not be as good as Ingres, but surely are nonetheless the work of a Modern Master...

Well that's certainly up for debate...
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:31 PM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Hockney and Ingres are no different. They are both artists and each has their own audience. Art isn't about some magical mystery emotional phychobabble, It's about creating to the best of one's ability and finding an audience that wishes to purchase the end result. I would think as artists you would all know that. However, it seems you're all stuck on the details rather than looking at the bigger picture
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:04 AM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

I too find Hockney's portraits interesting and even beautiful, as I do his later photo collage 'time lapse' work and his drawings. It is obvious that he is not Ingres and does not want to be. It is obvious that he has a bee in his bonnet about cameras (which he uses to great effect himself) that borders on an obsession. But let us not forget that he is a trained (yes classically trained) and driven artist who is at the very least entitled to an opinion.

When it comes to photography and painting, or film and the stage for that matter, it is very much a matter of horses for courses. If the result is appealing (without being saccharine and over done) then that's enough for me. Great photographers and other visual artists are few and far between.
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:05 AM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Quote:
Originally Posted by caldwell.brobeck
Certainly tracing would have been useful, but he still needs to trace something Also note though that lightweight tracing paper would useful because it facilitated transfers to other media, like engraving.

An obvious, but I think overlooked point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive Green
When it comes to photography and painting, or film and the stage for that matter, it is very much a matter of horses for courses. If the result is appealing (without being saccharine and over done) then that's enough for me. Great photographers and other visual artists are few and far between.

Here, here! There is only so much good work, be that photography, painting, sculpture or any other visual art. And as SLG often points out, the old master works have already gone through centuries of cherry picking, until we are left with only the finest. Everything of recent history has not had the privilege (or the suffering), of this cherry picking.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:16 PM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

Why so small? Lots of reasons - Small is one of the techniques he was trained on, look at his medallion size portraits - 3 to 5 inches in diameter - in his juvenalia. Small was popular; the French were, as ever, into little trinkets and bobbles, particularly during the Directoire... Small was popular with tourists - and remember, he really came into his own as a portrait draftsman when he had more or less had been ridiculed out of France and was residing in Italy in his 30's (not that a lot of his earlier work wasn't gorgeous), and his work for tourists kept the wolf from the door...

Unlike Hockney, I don't find Ingres' scale suggestive of the use of any mechanical aids. I'd find large-scale drawings at this point in history far more surprising.

And, from a neurophysics POV, small puts less demands on the integrational aspects of perception... A large image in your mind is, roughly speaking, a mosaic of these stitched together combined with other information (like colour), creating lots more room for individual variation ("error").

Exactly. Working on a standard scale of 44" x 80" I find it quite easy to distort moving from the top to bottom. Hung directly in front of me I must look up (and reach up) to the top of the painting, while the feet of the figures hang not far above my own feet. As a result I must repeatedly raise and lower the work in progress... which results, to some extent, in this "mosaic" of images stitched together which demands continual viewing from a distance in order to maintain proportion and unity.

The rest of Hockney's "thesis" boils down to the fact that he can't do it, so Ingres couldn't either. Welcome to the "it's all about me" world"; in that sense Hockney really is a painter of our times.

That may be Hockney's theory. I am more than aware that Ingres was a phenomenal draftsman whose skills owe more to his own genius and to the intense training of the period than to any use of mechanical aids.

SLG- Did Ingres use any optical tools? I suspect that he, would have experimented with them as did Delacroix, his chief rival. Historically, artists have always been among the first to take advantage of new tools, techniques, materials, and methods. Most of us have probably employed the computer in some way or another toward the realization of our art.

One thing noticeable when looking at any number of the drawings in real life is that the drawings show a different quality or handling between the portrait faces and the clothing and background which may suggest that only the faces were drawn from life while the clothing was drawn later draped upon manikins... or models affording him far more time. The portrait of the Comtesse d'Haussonville, for example, was worked on for over 3 years. It would be absurd to assume that Ms. d'Haussonville sat in Ingres' studio for the whole of that time. Similar techniques were employed by Rubens, Van Dyck and others in painting Kings, Emperors, and other sitters not likely to spend weeks or months posing for a mere painter.

W/r to the "uncanny accuracy", why not just accept that some people - a very small number - have that natural ability (usually complemented by rigourous training)? From Gould playing his sewing machine Bach, or Mozart transcribing the Miserere mei, Deus at the age of 14 with one hearing (slightly modified on the second), to Nadia Comaneci or Stephen Wiltshire, some people just excel at what they do. In every field of human activity, there's that tiny percent that is just superb at what they do.

Perhaps, rather than suggest an "uncanny accuracy", I should have suggested that having seen a vast many of these drawings in person in the major Ingres Retrospective at the National Gallery, Washington some years back, I was struck by the stylized accuracy without the least trace of erasure found in the draperies, clothing, and background more than in the faces. Not even Michelangelo or Raphael is so consistently flawless. No, this need not be seen as proof of the use of a mechanical aid or photography, but tracing the drawing once corrected and fine tuned was not an uncommon technique.

As for the differences between the drawings of faces, and the drawings of clothes, there are much simpler explanations. First of all, composition and dramatic effect. His drawing habits bring the face immediately into sharp focus - and remember this was the era of rising individualism, when for many people the individual was more important than more materialistic concerns, like station in life.

Actually, the faces are not so much seen in sharp focus, but rather more often they show a greater sensitivity to softened edges where the clothing and background are often rendered in a perfect, crisp, hard-edged manner.

Considering the care, time, and the literally hundreds of sketches Ingres usually employed in the creation of a single portrait painting, I just don't find myself buying into the notion that he could create such complex drawings as these with his attention to composition as well as detail...











... all completed from life in but a few hours time... and without the least suggestion of pentimenti or erasure. This would suggest a level of ability above that of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Titian, Rembrandt, and Rubens... as well as even Ingres himself:











Ingres' drawings in preparation for his paintings show repeated pentimenti, adjustments and fine-tuning of the composition and various details, the use of grids, erasures, etc... Are you suggesting that in his portrait drawings he was somehow miraculously able to get everything right the first time without needing to fine tune the composition or the details?

SLG- Another possible explanation of the absolute fluidity and accuracy without any signs of correction in these drawings is that Ingres may have employed tracing. The artist could have made repeated drawings, adjustments, and refinements until the drawing was what he wanted, then trace this onto the final paper in order to eliminate traces of pentimenti. Degas employed similar techniques in any number of his pastels and ultimately this is the approach used by many old masters working out the composition and drawing on paper before transferring this "cartoon" to the final surface. This technique was more common to the linear artists of the Roman/Florentine school than to the more painterly Venetians or their Northern painterly followers (Rubens and Rembrandt)... but then Ingres, following in the Neo-Classical tradition, was an artist obsessed with line and clearly in the Roman/Florentine tradition. Raphael was his idol.

There are lots of explanations, though the simplest would be simply that he was good at what he did. But yes, there are lots of techniques that could have helped him. A really simple one is to note that he worked in pencil on paper. The rubber eraser was invented around 1770. Here's a very simple recipe - draw the contours lightly, rub the drawing with a soft cloth to remove most of the graphite (which leaves a bit of tone and traces of the line); redraw while correcting whatever errors there are, rub again, etc. etc. until you get something along the lines of what you want. Use the eraser - or a bit of crustless white bread - to create highlights. when you get towards what you want, strengthen the drawing and add fine detail, like eyelashes and that curly hair...It's dead simple and the method has been around practically forever. Though I doubt Ingres even needed something that "sophisticated".

I love Ingres' work and have no doubt that he was a brilliant draftsman... but you are suggesting an ability that surpasses Michelangelo, Rubens, and many other artists of no less ability? And how does he throw together the complex compositions of any number of his portrait drawings without making any changes... while he works quite differently when coming to his drawings for paintings.

Certainly tracing would have been useful, but he still needs to trace something Also note though that lightweight tracing paper would useful because it facilitated transfers to other media, like engraving.

Of course. I'm not suggesting he traced photographs, but rather that he traced the more worn drawings that exhibited the multiple erasures, pentimenti, etc... Today, we likely would love to see those, but a Neo-Classicist? Ingres was selling these drawings as finished works of art and the taste of the period likely wouldn't have appreciated pentimenti, smudges, and other signs of reworking, altering, or refining the image until it was just what he was after.

Tracing paper also has the advantage of a certain "tooth" or grain or texture. It is popular with many pastel artists.

SLG- Either way, I don't think the use of optical devices is "cheating" or something that artists attempt to hide. Neither do I imagine that it comes near to explaining the technical brilliance of Ingres, Vermeer, Caravaggio, etc... We all have access to optical tools and media Ingres and others could not have even imagined... yet we are not overwhelmed with artists with the mastery of Vermeer, Ingres, etc...

I guess I feel differently about photography. I like and respect photography as an art in itself, but on the whole (there are a few exceptions) I do find the more clearly dependent on photography a painter is the less I respect the work or the person, if they are doing this as fine art, and not just as a pleasant hobby. That's because it represents a willing submission to groupthink via taste; if art is an expression of how one perceives the world, then doing this is a statement that the artist wants to give up their own unique perception in favour of what is commonly held to be "true", rather than working to improve their own perception and means of expression.

My feeling is that artists have always employed whatever tools are available... including the latest technologies. I know that your own approach to art is rooted in direct observation from life... but that is far from being the only... or even the dominant approach to art. Older masters employed drawings after others' works of art as well as engravings and etching of the same as source material for poses, facial expressions, etc... Add to this memory and imagination. Photography is but one more reference source or source of inspiration. Yes, it can, and often is abused by painters who imagine the highest achievement is little more than a mimicry of a photograph... and honestly I could do without any more paintings imitating blurred photographs ala Gerhard Richter for a good long time.
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:17 AM
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Batman55 Batman55 is offline
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

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Originally Posted by ianuk
Hockney and Ingres are no different. They are both artists and each has their own audience. Art isn't about some magical mystery emotional phychobabble, It's about creating to the best of one's ability and finding an audience that wishes to purchase the end result. I would think as artists you would all know that. However, it seems you're all stuck on the details rather than looking at the bigger picture

Agree.

Really, comparisons between artists of different eras, and all this about the Great Old Ones being "impeccable" in everything they did.. it becomes quite petty, in the end. Of course, I have my own hang-ups as well--still working on those--but come on folks, we can do better.
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:19 AM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

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Originally Posted by AllisonR
You've been having too much punch lately. They are not even as good as many a college art student's drawings.

Coffee spiked with Fra'Angelico.. is my vice. I *have* been overdoing it lately! Looks like you caught me
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:25 AM
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Re: seeing: Photo vs Painting

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Originally Posted by Batman55
Coffee spiked with Fra'Angelico.. is my vice. I *have* been overdoing it lately! Looks like you caught me

If you're going to have a vice, that's not a bad one at all. You're making me thirsty
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