if only he had learned how to draw!


One of the most common complaints made about today’s artists is their apparent inability to draw. In matters of art, no question is more decisive, more majestically final, than: “But can he/she draw?” In a melodramatic hatchet job on Francis Bacon, Picasso biographer John Richardson recently claimed that Bacon’s “graphic ineptitude” was his Achilles heel: “Tragically, he failed to teach himself to draw.” The pro-life-drawing movement is one of the most lasting legacies of the artistic Renaissance in Florence, for it was here that disegno (design or drawing) was enshrined as the source of all visual competence. The first art academy, founded in Florence in 1563 on the urging of Giorgio Vasari, was called the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, and the curriculum centred on drawing of the live (and dead) model, and of approved artworks that would enable the aspiring artist to “correct” nature. Michelangelo, a compulsive drawer whose most exquisite creations are the subject of a major exhibition at the Courtauld Institute Galleries, was being typically Florentine when he asserted that “Design, which by another name is called drawing . . . is the fount and body of painting and sculpture and architecture and of every other kind of painting and the root of all sciences.”

more from James Hall at The Guardian here. (h/t Elatia Harris)