Flower

Repetition and Obsession

There is just so much to draw here. And what draws your attention? Draw that! Draw it again and again and again and again if you have to. Obsess over it. Master it and learn it and never even scratch the surface of it. Beautiful.

Let’s illustrate this form of madness with some of the drawings I’ve done of one particular statue… I think at first I might have drawn this statue more than any others, but it’s been pretty heartily surpassed by a whole bunch of other things. So much to draw… So much to see, too. Geez, imagine all the things I don’t even know about that I COULD have been drawing… good lord…

Anyhow, this statue is in the Loggia in Piazza della Signoria. Herakles and Nessus, the Centaur. Lots of drawings, lots of times of day, several weeks now and a few different angles… (so far, that is…)

Herakles1

Herakles2

Herakles3

Herakles4

Herakles5

Y’know, the position of Herakles’ brazen club has been bothering me since I arrived (and actually now that I thinka bout it, this might be very well-illustrated in these drawings. It’s facing down, almost pointed at Nessus’ head)… I mean, I picture it coming down on the Centaur’s head, or flank, or I donno, wherever, and it just doesn’t seem like a practical position to hold it in. I mean, it’s not a killing blow, more like he’s disciplining him or giving him a warning or something… Herakles, of all people, who has clubbed everything you can think of, should just be more natural, more adept at it, right? It bothered me, ok? Well one day I was thinking about this and that, and then I got thinking of how it’s one very particular moment that’s captured in a painting or a sculpture. I think I was specifically thinking in the Renaissance-ish era, I don’t remember what got me on this train of thought exactly, but I realized that I was looking at it all wrong… Here’s the Centaur with Herakles standing overtop of him, his horse legs forced into some unnatural positions, his head bent back at a horrible angle, struggling entirely in vain and clearly not going anywhere. We’re not looking at the moment before impact; we’re looking at Herakles having just finished subduing Nessus (and he’s pretty friggin’ subdued), and he’s just starting to raise the club! It’s on the upswing, not the downswing! It’s this detached and methodical thing that Herakles has done over and over in his labours. It’s right before the clubbing begins! Makes a heck of a lot more sense that way. …at least to me. It’s so infinitely fascinating even to have the slightest insight into the context of a work of art and then to imagine at what point of the story it’s supposed to be taking place at. What, who, why, where, when and how was the artist interested in this particular myth, this particular scene… You know, what’s shown, what’s not shown… Unreal, bros. (Did that actually make sense?)

And there was this pigeon pretty proudly crapping on Herakles’ foot the last time I was there. Like, strutting and standing next to it and looking me in the eye. Context. Oh, and more on Herakles and his tendencies to go out clubbing another time… Till then, hang loose!!

2 Responses to “Repetition and Obsession”

  1. July 13th, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Mike says:

    Man got me thinking, I wonder if modern context led you to believe the club was on the down stroke?

    The way we are taught to draw an action scene an exaggerated pose with power, right? Right? But when did this start? Think about that!

  2. July 20th, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Corey says:

    Shit, that’s a good point, bro! That’s probably exactly it… I don’t think I would have ever thought of showing the moment BEFORE the action… This needs looking into! HISTORICAL RESEARCH, oh man I love that crap…

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