This back view of the famous Hellenistic work attributed to
Epigonos is in the Museo Romano at the Palazzo ALTEMPS in
Rome. The two-figure composition seems to spiral from the center
and may be seen as an ensemble of triangular forms or as a set of
"force line" diagonals that seem to hinge from the window box of
the overall subject in a beautifully harmonious manner. (
here to read more about the piece.)
Gaul committing suicide with his wife
pen and ink
11"  x  8"
Private collection
The artistic process:
The power of preliminary sketches
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Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts
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Process -- page one
The images to the left show
three 4-minute croquis or
thumbnail gestural views of
the same sculpture. In these
quick views I try to capture
the feeling or gesture of the
subjects and to lay them into
the drawing page or window
in a manner that brings out
the lines of force of the
The above pencil drawing of Saint Andrew comes from one of
several Roman sketchbooks that I have filled with such studies
since I came to this city in August 2008. I sketched this figure
inside St. Peter's Basilica, from a 17th-century statue sculpted
by Duquesnoy which stands inside a niche in one of the four
main piers surrounding the main altar. To me, one of the most
compelling aspects of this particular subject is the way the
geometrical X-shape of the cross of Andrew's martyrdom spans
the space and essentially lays out the axes of the composition  
while cradling or holding, as it were, the more
emotional/gestural pencil curves expressing the feeling of  
surrender that I see in Duqnesnoy's statue.
While I drew this image, I appreciated the passages in Leonardo
da Vinci's journals where he insists that it is essential to draw
not only right proportions and chiaroscuro but especially the
human figure in its expression of emotions. All too often,
modern-day artists or teachers of drawing, particularly in
architecture courses, categorically state that geometry and right
proportions have absolutely nothing to do with feeling and that
students of architecture have little or nothing to learn from
drawing human figure or sculptures like those of this Saint