Students at work in the Gallery of Greek and Roman Casts, Mizzou.
Recently I wrote a short piece for the Columbia Missourian to highlight the work the Museum (and my students!) are doing; click here to read the piece. Here are a couple fantastic works from two of my students this semester:
Above: a drawing of a detail of a cast by Caroline Pins. Graphite on paper, 2014.
Above: a cast drawing of Dancing Girl by Hye Jun Kim. Graphite on paper, 2014.
I’ve asked my students to comment below regarding their experiences at the Gallery. Many of them wrote compelling reflections about drawing from the casts, so I’m pleased to offer them some space to share those thoughts.
Throughout the past 4 classes when we had to draw the sculptures of the cast collection, I learned a few new things about drawing objects or still life’s in person. In high school, we did still life drawings and picture drawings, yet they never had the same complexity as these Casts. There is so much detail and work needed in each sculpture in order for it to resemble the same cast and having to do two drawings in our limited amount of time was challenging. I learned that the still life drawings done in class are nothing. These casts were crazy hard, and I’m sure my project is not perfect in any sense. However, they were a lot of fun to draw since it was a new environment and a break for my daily routine.
The sculptures I chose to draw for my multiple sculpture drawing are Artemis from Gabii, Dancing Woman, Nike of Samothrace, and Borgheese Warrior. For me close up drawing, I chose Athena Velletri. Between two drawings that was a lot of sculptures to remake!
While drawing, I never felt a deep connection to these statutes, yet this could be because I listened to Katy Perry while drawing. Yes, I was drawing beautiful artwork crafted from centuries ago, yet that never crossed my mind as I drew. Most of the time if I’m not singing in my head, my thought process is blank when drawing. It is so peaceful, raw, and organic. That’s when I do my best work- when my mind is clear and I allow myself to completely rid my mind of anything until the drawing is complete.
In class we had started with pencil and then gradually moved to charcoal. I had become very comfortable with blending and the values I could earn by using this medium. So when it came time to switch back to pencil for the cast collection, I was a bit skeptical. I decided that since I enjoyed drawing cloth with charcoal I would try it with pencil as well by trying to mimic a robe draped over the arm of Dionysus. At first I struggled because everything was turning out to be very close in shade and there was no diversity. Then by blurring my eyes I was able to separate the extreme lights and darks. This tactic helped a lot with the larger area portrait as well, and the picture turned out better than where my initial impressions led me.
Working in the Cast Gallery, though it was quite challenging, is an experience that I will never forget. Drawing I was the first real art class I had taken (aside from the art courses offered in high school), so the drawing assignments given to the class have really pushed me to become a better artist—I have always struggled with shading and creating several gradients on my drawings because I believed that if I went too dark, the entire piece would be ruined when I needed to erase to form highlights or show the lightest value; however, by being given the opportunity to work with the sculptures in the Cast Gallery I was able to focus on my problem area of shading. Because both castings I worked with displayed colossal-style drapery, there were several different values of lights and darks I needed to capture in order for my drawings to properly represent the castings of the Nike of Samothrace and the Dancing Woman.
Since I am in Art History I have learned about many of the sculptures represented in the Cast Gallery, and I have really come to appreciate the castings, especially the Nike of Samothrace. Drawing any object forces the artist to notice the smallest of details, which has the potential for one to really connect with the history of a piece, whereas seeing a picture in a textbook might not allow for one to become as familiar with the artwork. Even though we were only in the Cast Gallery for two weeks, I can already tell I have a better eye for detail, which I know will be extremely beneficial as I start working on the next unit—portrait drawings.
For the past two weeks I’ve spent a significant amount of time with amazing and ancient sculptures that depicted gods and people from Greek and Roman history. Drawing in the Cast Collection made the class seem less traditional and more open to free thought, interpretation, and perspective. The two pieces, a close up and a perspective were drawn in a manner that captured their primordial essence. My first drawing, The Nike of Samothrace, was discovered in 1863 and is estimated to have been sculpted around 200–190 BC. Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, had an aura that spoke to me and her majestic stance and figure stands tall for all to admire. My second drawing I did was the Hera Ludovisi is a colossal Roman marble head of the 1st century CE. Hera was the protectoress of women and childbirth and was therefore very popular with Roman woman. Her strong features and background story were what drew me to sketch her and research her. Overall the cast collection was an interesting experience that taught me more about the ancient Greek and Roman works that I did not know very much about to begin with.
This is the first time that I go to the cast gallery. The professor said that we can choose whatever we want to draw, so I felt a little bit nervous. I had never done that before. Then, I chose Aphrodite of Melos to be my first drawing because it was the only sculpture that I know in the cast gallery. At first, I did not know how to draw so I just took a picture and drew from my phone. This was not a good way. It would have some differences from what you saw. I began to use my eyes to draw it again. Then, I found myself use another way to appreciate these works. It seemed that I experienced the process that they used to create the works when I was drawing. Although my work has a lot of weakness (such as the fact that I do not have a good control with shading) I still think it is my best drawing. I enjoyed the atmosphere there.
Finding threads of insight is what I planned to do when I decided to take this class at Mizzou—this idea comes from a book entitled Nine Texts by Matt Ballou, my professor. Throughout this class I have been taught to see in a new way and trust that value conveys more than lines, that every work contains feeling or mood, and that taking time to study or learn about what you are drawing can connect you in a personal way. In my case, I spent time drawing four pieces in the Cast collection at Mizzou North: Dionysus- Priapus, Victory of Samothrace, Artemis From Gabii, and Dancing Woman. Halfway through my drawings I stopped in order to research the sculptures. My favorite was the Winged Nike. To my surprise I found myself feeling proud to be drawing such a famous statue and one that conveys so much drama and influence from the blown back fabric and the missing head and arms, I can only imagine the sculptor was feeling a sense of power when it was created. I attempted to feel what the sculptor wanted to convey by drawing it. I am very proud of my drawing, especially because when I initially looked around the large blue room full of intricate Hellenistic statues, I was very intimidated.
From the exciting experience of drawing in the cast gallery, I feel more connected to the ancients. There are so many classic ancient sculpture which are highly imitated from the original ones. They are highly detailed and reachable, I feel like I’m in the Louvre. They are the symbols of the ancient art and history and their existence is not only for the people’s appreciation but also shows the ancients’ understating of modern art. I spent a lot of time with the subject I was drawing, and it looks like there is a strong connection between different sculptures. They always wear smiles on their faces, and their eyes are bright and deep. One of the sculptures I was drawing is Athena. She is one of the twelve Olympians and she is also a great soldier. She has always been mentioned and seen on the Greek myth film or story. Actually, the well -known sculptures in this cast gallery are all from the great Greek myth which I am really fond of. The lighting takes a reflection on every space of the gallery and I just use the skills I learned from the art drawing class to best show what I see. It seemed like everyone enjoyed spending time there and we all finished our drawing perfectly.
Going to a different location other than the classroom is always a fun trip. Changing it up, or a change of scenery is always a good thing; a breath of fresh air if you will. This time, we were able to go to Mizzou North and visit the cast collection of all ancient Greek and Roman statues. At first I was pretty excited because I love ancient artifacts and history. The Ancient Greeks had all these immaculate stories of gods and goddesses. To be able to bring these characters into a state of being is pretty amazing especially, for the technological capabilities that the ancient Greeks had. Looking at these casts, and envisioning how the Ancient Greeks lived and saw art was pretty hard to imagine. For my close up, detail drawing, I drew Hermes and baby Dionysos. I drew the piece from the backside, and didn’t realize until halfway through the drawing that the front would have been a better prospect and more challenging. I think I was able to capture the human like feel of his back. Trying to portray his back muscles in the light was a challenge. My second drawing, or my full view, included the statue of Aphrodite with the four heads on the wall near the window. This was a challenge because I had to move my position, which changed the angles of Aphrodite and the heads. Another challenge that I found was on the first day of my close up, we experienced a fairly sunny day with natural light mixed with the lights inside. The days after we experienced just the lights from inside because of the cloudy weather. This was tough to try and fix the shadowing of my halfway done drawing, but was not that bad of an issue. I was glade to be able to do these drawings but proved to be a lot tougher than I originally thought.
I was excited when I knew we would be spending two whole weeks to in the cast gallery, because I never draw a statue in my drawing class. Actually, I am an international student. In China, I never attend this kind of class in my high school. This was an interesting experience for me. Before I came to the cast gallery, I did not know there was such an interesting place in our school. Though I enjoyed drawing at the cast gallery, I did find parts of it to be challenging. My biggest challenge was probably getting the figure’s feet details correct. I spent more than three classes to draw the feet of the statue. In the cast gallery, there was a different environment than with our regular classroom, I felt comfortable and interested while I completed my drawing. I also learned a lot ancient painting and culture, moreover, I thought my drawing skill has improved. It had truly been a wonderful experience for me.
During the time spent at the MU cast collection, I completed two pieces that had several different casts as the subjects. The first was a broad view of the room, which included the statues Artemis from Gabii, Dancing Woman, Nike of Samothrace and Laokoon and his sons. The Second was a closer study of Apollo from the Temple of Zeuse at Olympia. Having the opportunity to work in the cast collection proved invaluable to me because it was my first experience with any figurative drawing, and a subject that was both interesting and (especially) immobile was key to my success. I feel that it was an excellent way to introduce the human form to a novice. In addition, I was compelled to spend time on my drawings because I very much enjoyed thinking about the historical context of all of the statues. Attempting to duplicate the statue’s endless details on paper is a wonderful way to connect with the artist, almost transcending time. When considering the amount of effort I put fourth to produce two graphite drawings, I am blown away thinking about the dedication and countless hours toiling with hammer and chisel to produce even one of those ancient pieces. To have access to an entire room full of these inspirational examples allows us, as students, to participate in a tradition that is thousands of years old. This experience has made me feel more connected to art and artists everywhere than I had ever thought possible.
We stayed at Gallery for two weeks in order to allow us to have enough time to appreciate those statues that have history for over one hundred years. I have never seen so many ancients before. So it is very excited for me. Among those statues, I am a little bit familiar with the Venus de Milo that is one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. I drew her for almost two days because the “skirt” is difficult to draw. I think people should often appreciate those sculpture to promote their ability of learning art.
Drawing at the cast collection was an interesting experience to say the least. Between trying to find a ride, trying to find Mizzou North, and trying to recreate the beauty of these sculptures, there were a few bumps along the way. I was excited to draw these casts, as I enjoy drawing “people.” However, these casts are not simply “people”; they are a part of history. They look otherworldly with their blank gazes and strong stances, and all the casts I chose to draw were somewhat intimidating. I decided to take on the close up drawing first, so I focused my attention on the sculpture of “The Apoxyomenos (Athlete Scraping Himself with a Strigil).” As I was focusing on drawing his face, I did not pay any attention to the man’s body or body position until a group of Girl Scouts came in with what I assume was some kind of museum curator. She was explaining to these young girls that in the ancient Grecian and Roman times, men and women bathed themselves in public, and scraped themselves clean with some kind of stick (the strigil). The Girl Scouts were innocently amazed, and I was amused and impressed with their interest and maturity of the naked sculpture before them. Looking back on my drawings I wish I would have drawn in that strigil, to capture the essence of the time period, and the customs that the little Girl Scouts (and frankly myself) were so intrigued by.
When I heard about drawing the statues from the Cast Gallery at the first time, I was so afraid of going to that place because I have never drawn a statue in my entire life, and I was not interested in looking at statues; I thought statues are not really different to each other. I thought the experience in the Cast Gallery would be boring. However, my thought totally changed as starting this drawing project.
As choosing the statues I wanted to draw, I actually got to see the details on each of them. They looked all unique and gorgeous. I wondered how the ancient people carved them all; I thought the ancients didn’t have enough skills to express details, but they had great abilities to create art. I liked to use graphite to draw the statues because I could concentrate on their shapes and shadings as observing them–I felt I was creating another art from the original forms.
With this experience, I felt very connected to the ancients as discovering them in close sight. As drawing the statues, which are Nike of Samothrace and Dancing Woman (Roman copy of a flute girl by Lysippos), I was impressed how beautiful a woman’s body is. I picked these two statues because they represent the body of women in aesthetic ways and I love them. I realized a human being is artistic enough through this project. Especially, Nike is a goddess, so it was interesting to me because the statue form came from the ancients’ imagination. I thought they made Nike as an attractive goddess–I felt almost seduced from the statue–pretty much. I liked the dancing woman statue because its breast was showing and seemed natural looking and that natural look made me think of common women.
As I was drawing the two women, I became confident with my drawing–at least I feel more confident now than before I drew them because now I’m experienced drawing human body which the hardest form I thought of. From this project, I’m more into the human body and its existence– I learned how important and valuable we are.
So being able to go the Cast Gallery was a pretty cool experience not only because of the history but it was also a nice change in scenery. I guess you could argue this as good or bad but I was always extremely relaxed in there so much I about fell asleep a couple of times but in a good way not a bored way. I really didn’t recognize any of the castes so choosing what to draw wasn’t much of an attachment thing for me but more of me being interested in the look of these particular ones thing. For my close up drawing I chose to draw was the Dionysos or Priapos. I couldn’t find out much about him but I chose him because he just had an interesting look to him. The way he looked was almost like he was judging anyone who looked at him. For my overall drawing I chose the wall that had the four heads and then the massive Apollo cast. I honestly can’t say I had a reason for choosing this spot other than I liked the difference in size between it all and I found the four heads to be funny. They kind of reminded me of the four singing statues on The Haunted Mansion which is why I liked it. I think the hardest part of all for me was figuring out that yes the casts are a whitish color but they are not the value of the color on my paper which I struggled with throughout the entire thing. It’s cool to think that in the bigger picture it’s really up to the shadows at that time of the day to determine what the cast is going to look like. Which turned to to be another struggle because the value differences were so settle you definitely couldn’t just outline things. I won’t say I’m in love with my drawings but I definitely think I’ve made progress from my first drawings to now.
When learning that we would be going to the cast collection, I was very excited. I was happy to be able to draw something that was not a still life. I enjoy drawing people and knew that I needed practice drawing anatomy; so going to the cast collection was a great opportunity.
During my time at the cast collection, I spent majority of my stay drawing the heads of Homer and Euripides. Both of these are famous Greek authors, Homer being a poet and Euripides a tragedian. Homer was the author of the well-known epics, Iliad and The Odyssey. Euripides is equally well known, in fact, he is called one of the three great tragedians of Athens.
After finding that they were both artists and masters of their own craft, I felt more connected to my own piece. I was also amazed by the fact that the statues there were over a hundred years old and someone else, similar to me, had modeled these casts after an older piece.
It was difficult getting some of the facial structures right and I often struggled with the anatomy of the figures, but overall I think I did a good job translating the statues to paper.
I thought the Cast Gallery was incredibly amazing. It was both awesome and sad that this is one of only three sets of these collections left. Mizzou is so lucky to be home to them! In my large drawing I focused on Nike and the Bust of Perikles. This drawing was difficult for me in some ways and easier in other ways. It was hard for me to not just have one focal point. There were two amazing sculptures sitting in front of me. I did my best to depict them in my drawing. It was easier for me because they didn’t have to be as detailed as in the close up drawing. I liked that I was able to include the walls and windows behind the sculptures. Looking at my drawing made me feel like I was really looking at the pieces. The up close was easier for me. I drew the Portrait of Sophokle’s right foot. I actually really liked drawing this and I am really happy with how it turned out. I could really go into details with the shadows. I liked having four days at the cast gallery. If we would have only went twice I don’t think I would have been able to complete my drawings as well as I did. Although there is always room for improvement in everything, I was happy with how both of my drawings turned out. Drawing in the Cast Gallery was a great experience. It’s definitely something I wouldn’t have ever got to experience had I not taken this class.
Drawing is a craft of observation. By utilizing the casts of the celebrated sculptors from ancient Greece, I honed my ability to see an object in space and accurately lay out the forms on the 2D plain of paper. The white quality of the casts allowed me to single out values more accurately than I previously had. This helped me to more accurately pictorially describe the form. I also gained a higher appreciation for patience. It can be difficult to settle down and truly divert all of your attention to your eyes and hands, and putting in the time to sit and observe and truly see the sculptures was incomparably helpful. I rendered Sophocles, a bust of Dionysus and the head of some kind of human with animal ears. One thing I struggle with is keeping my drawings too light, not going in and really setting the dark tones to bring a good pop of chiaroscuro. However, after putting in the time with these casts I feel that my drawings were successful, if I had even more time to work I would be even more happy though.
We spent four classes on drawing sculptures in Mizzou North. To be honest, this is my first time to draw a large sculpture and I never think I would draw a large sculpture so soon. I used to draw some plaster models but the result is always the same, “That’s too terrible for me, literally.” Maybe I am too strict with myself. Anyway, the requirement of this project is to draw two pictures. One should be included multiple sculptures the other one is for a detailed sculpture. The former one that I draw includes two sculptures. One is Aphrodite, also known as Venus. A goddess represents love and beauty, the other one is Alexander the Great, the king of Macedon. This two casts have different kind of characteristics but both of them are sculptures in this cast gallery. It is not a easy thing for me to draw those tall sculpture since I am bad at drawing figures. I try to do better this time and spent a lot of time on shading. And the result is I actually do better than before, probably… The second picture is a detail of a head. Since that picture is for working on one detailed figure, I feel easier than the second one. And I am sure that I do better than first picture which includes two sculptures. In a word, it is a interesting experience for me!
The Collection of thoughts on the Cast Collection
I’m new to drawing set objects, and when I heard that we would be drawing figures out of the cast collection…I almost wanted to drop the class. I’m pretty good at drawing many different things. However, in this class, I’ve had to overcome my lack of proportion understanding. It was hard enough drawing the still lives correctly. Taking on this herculaneous task didn’t sound like the most pleasing thing to take part in. Looking at the figures when I first walked in was daunting. I really thought that I was looking into the belly of the beast with this project, and when I heard that two drawings had to be done in the time that we normally do one….let’s just say some anxiety and panic set it.
Deciding that the best way to get this done was to pick a spot and do it, I chose a corner since I had worked on a corner like it in a previous project. By drawing an angle that I had drawn before, I saw the opportunity to speed through a drawing and still make it look nice. By taking elements that I had drawn before and placing them piece by piece in my drawing, I was able to get the layout done to its entirety faster than I would if I would have chosen any other spot. Ok…now it was time, it was time to draw the figures for what they were. I knew that I didn’t have to draw them in a distinguished true to form sort of way, but I also wanted to finally be recognized for capturing some of that glory that my teacher is always talking about. I’ve never been the one who received the complements, and I was now determined to reach out above my comfort zone to finally do something that my teacher wouldn’t necessarily be expecting from me.
Drawing, erasing, sizing, and bringing up value, my picture was starting to look legit. To compensate with the lack of time, I then started my second drawing. The thought process was that I have a flash memory and would be able to remember the values of the room to their entirety, so starting the next drawing would be the most viable option. Sighting and measuring, I progressed quite well while drawing my wing, but then a problem set it. I needed to get this wing to look like you could grab it right out of the page. Ugh, seems like the only solution is….value. Getting the values up, I tried to keep a nice gradient from dark to light from top to bottom in order force the eye to see the wing as an element in the foreground. Playing around with the directions that I worked up in value, this slowly but surely was achieved. I’m not going to lie, someone else probably could have done it better, but out of some of my previous works, this was up there because it was done entirely by moi.
I worked the gradients in differently to both of pictures due to the fact that the broad view contained more values than the close-up. Still going back to my roots to pencil in the main figures and then building up value, it took some time, but I brought my picture to life in my own style. It may be slower, but it looks allot cleaner. I probably could be done the other way, but due to my abilities and the time frame that was allotted, this was the answer I came to using my problem solving abilities. Knowing that I wouldn’t get done in the allotted time, I showed up on off days as well. I didn’t like that the cast collection wasn’t open on weekends, but you do what is needed of you to get the best final product that you can with the time that you have.
All in all I grew to like the cast collection more than I liked anything that we did in class because I was able to show what I could do even though the work was a lot more complex. I walked in with some fear, but I immediately thought Challenge Accepted. I sat down, started sighting and measuring and brought my pictures to life with the times that I had available in my busy schedule. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it was worth it to get done. This project also enhanced my time management skills since I had to go home both weekends.
Cultivating my drawings over time made me feel connected to them. We had some ups and downs, but the final product for me is something to be proud of. Sweat, blood, and tears isn’t even half of what this project required. However, being able to see each element for what it is and drawing it to the right specifications helped me love my drawing and care for it as needed. I do recommend that we find a better way of getting to and from the cast collection though. The ability to actually be able to readily get to the cast collection is a big deal since its only open during specific times of the day. Having the experience to draw these magnificent works was seemingly worth it though.
Getting to see the hard work that went into the art before me made me want to step my game up in the skill that I’ve been lacking. Being in the presence of such excellence made me feel like I couldn’t do anything less than my absolute best. This somewhat hindered the fun that art use to bring, but to get the grade desired…it was worth it. Spending hours on end drawing these fantastic works of art flew by a little too fast. I know that one of the drawings was more of a sketch of the room instead of a high resolution work of art, but I wanted to push myself to bring the both my drawings up to more than the detail that was probably expected from someone of my skill.
Feeling connected to these statues was one thing that made the experience worth it, but getting to know about what I was drawing turned into an interesting experience as well. I decided to do some digging on why the works were created and who actually created them. Some information that came up seemed to be valid, but the main topic that came up in my reading was how these statues were supposed to capture movement. Some of these in my mind did this very well. Not knowing the names of these sculptures hinders the amount of detail I can go into since you’re not in my mind. I can say that with the turning bodies and the ligaments being shown verbatim as they would be on someone really moving that way were captured to the full extent.
Looking at these casts, though, showed me the effort and love that can go into something that you care about. Applying it to my major, it shows that with enough care, my company can really turn heads as a final product if I take the time to capture every essence possible to show that the final project is something worth your time. It seems to me that greatness takes time, and that all the establishments that I want to own are possible if I spend to time needed to get good at my craft in the beginning to better enhance it in the farther future. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and this applies to things you do and don’t want to do. My mind kept bringing me back to the thought about the man hours and the love/care that was needed to create such glory. Fighting with the art to try and do it justice on my page will always stick with me in the fact that my vision is key, and that starting over, erasing, and continuing the push for greatness to have people fill loved an happiness applies to the continuous work I have to do to bring my artwork up in value to have it be looked upon hopefully as something decent.
I don’t know allot about art, and I took it to get better at showing investors what their money will be spent on. However, I think art also gave me the skill to love what I’m doing and to take the time that it’s going to need to create greatness through time management with all of the other things I have to do up to the point of the initial presentation. To me, I’ll call it a success in the sense that I was able to achieve such work in the short amount of time that I had to do it aligned with all of the other time consuming entities that were expected of me. My art isn’t the top of the top in my class or probably anyone’s class. I am however glad to see that my skill as a potential artist has increased tenfold. I can map out construction lines faster than ever before and I can bring an image to life way easier, cleaner, and clearer in less time than I originally thought possible. I think that anyone looking at my portfolio would agree that within a semester’s time frame, I’ve made a night and day change in the work that I’m able to create. I don’t have to go bigger than others or think of a more elaborate picture scheme to compete. I can sit down and draw a simple item like a pencil or a flower and turn it into a piece of art like never before.
Contemplating the time, effort, and understanding behind the surface of the art became a fruitful experience in that fact that it helped me cope with other classes and daily activities. I’m still reaping the fruit from the skills I’ve gained from all of our past projects. I hope to be able to utilize them all….even the ones that might go unnoticed to even the most in-depth minds.
During one of my tours at Mizzou as a senior in high school, I walked through the Museum of Art and Archeology and saw students drawing the casts. I remember telling my mom that it would be so cool to do that and now, almost a year later, I got the chance to draw my own interpretation of the casts. I knew on the first day at the collection that these would be my favorite pieces of art so far, and now that I have completed my drawings, I was correct. I spent a lot of time and effort with detail because I really wanted to get a feel for the shapes and lighting of each statue and bust. I love history and I love art so as a senior in high school I took an art history class and learned a lot about the creation of the pieces I drew and the time period they were from and the different techniques used to create each one.
Since I had some background knowledge going into this project I think it made me more excited and more appreciative because I got the chance to draw a piece of history and really take time to imagine myself in the artist’s place as he molded each fold in material and carved each tendril of hair. For the detailed piece, I drew the bust of Ludovisi Hera and thought it was incredible that it was originally part of an entire statue that would have been enormous had it not been separated. For the perspective drawing I had three statutes—The Artemis from Gabii, Athena Velletri, and the Dancing Woman. These Classical and Neoclassical pieces are all part of the revival of classical Roman forms where ornamentation and detail plays a key role.
Overall, it was a really great experience that definitely furthered my artistic ability to see shapes and form in direct light and teach myself how to work with shading and contrasting to build volume and bring the piece to life.
When first looking at Aphrodite I thought, “Why doesn’t the goddess of love and pleasure not have larger breasts and a rounder, more prominent butt?” This made me wonder if women back then did not usually have large breasts, or if men did not find them as desirable. I highly doubt the later, and would assume that women have been gradually developing larger breasts since then, as people have also become significantly taller in the past few centuries. I think this is a prime example of natural selection at its finest. I still find this strange however, as I would have imagined Aphrodite to be an ideal image of the female figure, rather than just a representation of the average woman during the time.
Despite speculating so much on Aphrodite’s’ bust size, I decided to focus on her hand, which holds the Apple of Discord, which Paris gave to her when he judged her beauty in comparison to Hera and Athena. This statue feels like it might have been meant to say “Never compare a woman with another woman when they are both present”. I learned this first hand myself a few years ago, and I felt a small connection to the past, as it seems they made this statue to warn against the dangers of comparing women.
Reblogged this on Latin, Classics, and Education in the 21st Century and commented:
The students’ comments are amazing, especially how drawing the casts of ancient statues helps them connect with and appreciate the past.
I thought drawing in the Cast Gallery was a really cool experience. Since all of the sculptures were just replicas of the historically famous originals, it was cool to see a little bit of what the real work must be like. Seeing the different type of sculpture or depiction of a person depending on the era it was done was very interesting, also the difference between Roman and Greek work. My close-up drawing was of Ludovisi Hera. It was Roman work in the Greek manor done in the 4th century BCE. I was drawn to this piece simply because it was just a giant head unlike the smaller busts. It was incredibly simple, yet its size made up for it. Drawing these sculptures taught me a lot about the extreme detail and precision these artists used when creating the pieces. Having to pay attention to this detail in my drawing gave me a whole new appreciation for the sculptures.
The experience of leaving the traditional class setting and venturing out to the cast collection was, simply put, spectacular. At first it was tricky to fit getting up to Mizzou North into my schedule and I didn’t have a car to get all the way there, but after the first day I was hooked. I just wanted to keep going back and to see more.
The pieces I drew are Hermes and the Infant Dionysus and Athena. These pieces made me gain a new appreciation for sculpture and it gave me a different outlook on art as a whole. While I drew these pieces at the cast collection it was as if I had a sense of deeper interaction with them. I started to gain a better understanding of how the pieces seem more realistic when I focused on their values instead of just trying to draw solid lines. It also made me notice that the approach I took while drawing these works helped me in my daily life. Now, I feel as if I’m more patient with my school work and activities because I seem that there is a deeper meaning to it all.
Upon first entrance of the Cast Gallery I already felt defeated. I was almost sure that I would not be able to properly depict any of the Greek statues in my artwork. It seemed to have required way too much detail and value, which I did not view as my strong point when it came to creating images. However, with my first drawing—Head Of Deidameia I proved myself to be incorrect. I am not exactly sure what it was but I felt more pressure to focus and notice small detail and relationships between values. I also completed a drawing of Apollo. This drawing seemed to be a lot more challenging to complete, However, I grew to love both final products.
When I first heard that our next drawing would take place in the Cast Gallery, I was really excited. I studied these massive pieces of art my first semester while taking Art Appreciation. The one cast I was in awe of, was the one of Nike. The way the wings were sculpted was so beautifully done. I thought it was amazing that Mizzou had the special opportunity to obtain the casts. The figures I drew a close up on were Hermes and Dionysos holding grapes. The background of what I drew was black so I decided to darken the page and erase in to create the white tones. I found this project challenging, but fun. The challenging part for me was drawing the figures faces. They seemed to have so much value and tones looking at them, but trying to recreate that in my drawings was hard. Overcoming this obstacle made me a better drawing in my opinion. I enjoyed being in the cast gallery, and doing close up drawings of the casts was probably one of my favorite projects.
I have always been incredibly intrigued by history, more so than other kids my age. I pity those who don’t have an appreciation for it, but to each their own. I was pretty excited to learn we’d be drawing the casts at the Cast Museum, having found myself spending hours look at sculptures by the likes of Bernini and Michelangelo. I do feel that one develops a sort of connection to the history behind a sculpture when you draw them. For me, I found myself wondering about the thought process that went behind its original making. The casts themselves are quite young, but still represent the original work, and I found it easy enough to put myself in the place of the sculptor and thought about the time period that they were created. What kind of life was lived? It was easy to pull myself out of the mindset of ‘drawing’ and into that of a historian.
I feel alright about the work I’ve done, though everything is left very unrefined and unfinished. Typically, when working on drawings of that size and in the case of the perspective piece, area to cover, I generally take months and months to finish. I have an entire folder on my computer of digital paintings I’ve gotten about halfway done with and are unfinished.
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