Sketching Class

For sketching class this week, we took on some challenging subjects. On Wednesday, we started at Piazza di Sant' Ignazio, designed by Filippo Raguzzini in 1727-35. It's a wonderful series of spaces defined by elliptical shapes in plan, so my first sketches were done as a way to help the students see what happens to circular and elliptic forms when viewed in perspective, and to emphasize the utility of seeing and drawing the implied shapes themselves before trying to draw the buildings. From this piazza, we headed down the street to tackle the Pantheon, starting with some exterior views and finishing with interiors. Since most of my time in class is spent coaching the students, I rarely have a chance to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on a drawing, and the drawings I do are intended to be instructive, so I try to keep them very small and quick. The two sketches of the Pantheon here were maybe 10 minutes each.

On Friday, we had 1pm reservations at the Galleria Borghese, so I decided to begin class at the Fontana di Trevi, which is roughly on the way to the Villa Borghese from Trastevere, where we're all living this summer. I arrived about 10 minutes early to crank out this drawing as a demonstration of very quickly trying to establish proportions on a complex subject such as this, and also to show how perspective can become "warped" depending on one's point of view. Though I failed to get the proportions right myself (the central bay of the triumphal arch is too narrow), I think seeing the drawing helped the students. The bit about warping a perspective, on the other hand, created more trouble than it was worth. I think I'll leave that out next time!

This final shot is some of the students in action at the Trevi. Sixteen students is a lot to handle, especially when they all fan out and find an attractive location from which to draw. For the start of this session I had them work from the same general area, mainly so they could assist each other on a common view. It seemed to work well.

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