Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Libyan Sibyl

This is the "most magnificent" drawing in the USA-per a website on Michelangelo, and many appreciators. And if you look at drawing books, at least half seem to include it as an example of excellent drawing. Its a study for the Libyan Sybyl done around 1512. If you draw, it probably awes you, as it does me. This is called "classical' drawing, or "old master" drawing, and is the rage now in drawing classes and schools. So many people seem to feel that it is the "true"way to draw, and seek teachers who can emulate this type of drawing. I feel much the same way about those artists who have learned and 'mastered" the Old Master techniques, I feel great respect (and envy) of their hard won skills, and I feel a great affinity to the past and these drawings. The real reason I do, I believe, is because I am as subject to the ethos as much as anyone, and for some reason, whether a social reaction to the insecurity of the future (when we are reactionary and seek tradition), or just a pendulum swing in the arts, I realize that everyone else is feeling the same way, and that it is not my own special feeling, but a shared one. However, I find when I get that feeling, the feeling that I am just like everyone else, I feel obliged to reject the fashion. Like everyone else. Which i find myself doing now, as places like the Gage Academy and the 'atelier" concept start to become more common place. It is a style, a craft, a technique, and a dead thing, to emulate this, and to not add to it. I have to see it produce "Art". I know that part of the reason I think so is that I know that I have no hope of attaining the mastery that would allow me to draw in this way, that I am condemned to be "sketchy" no matter how I want to be 'classical". So I have to make peace with this, and part of the way i do so is to understand why I cannot make the "look" of the drawing the end goal, and to criticize the attempt to do so. Although it is a great temptation.

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