A right of passage for classical atelier training includes copying Bargue Studies. Created by Charles Bargue and Jean-Léon Gérôme and published between 1866 and 1871, over 197 lithographs were printed as individual sheets for aspiring artists to copy until 1911 when the firm reproducing the lithographs was dissolved.
Now compiled into a book, the Charles Bargue Drawing Course is used by many academies and ateliers which focus on classical realism to train the eye of the student.
Of course we start with simpler exercises, that use primarily straight lines and then build in complexity.
The goal is to match the line quality (thin and thick, light and dark) as well as the shape, curvature, and proportions. The example on the left shows how to simplify the drawing with straight lines before adding curves.
Each drawing is taped to a board with a sheet of paper next to it. A plumb line is drawn along with a horizontal line. From there, the student steps back a few paces and uses either a string or long tip of a pencil to ‘eyeball’ distances, angles, and eventually gradation of value.
Click on each image for the full view. Coming next: Stage two, drawing plaster casts.