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Monday
Dec222008

Sketchbook: Master Copies

Sketches after Ingres, "Bather", 1808
and Carravagio, "Lute Player", 1596

Sketches after Rubens, "Descent", 1612
and "Apotheosis", 1691

Sketches after Reni, "Deianeira", 1621


Sketch after Robert Campin,
"Portrait of a Woman", 1420

I bought the beautiful book Sister Wendy's Story of Painting because I wanted to refresh my art history knowledge with a general overview. Sister Wendy (of PBS Special fame) has written an inspiring survey of art, with hundreds of high-quality color reproductions.

The format is similar to Eyewitness Guidebooks, in that the information is presented visually with lots of sidebars and with a storytelling style of writing, great for a general survey. She has included an illustrated time line for each major period of art history, which is great for visual learners.

Sister Wendy tells the history of painting in terms of the constant sweep towards and away from Classicism, the swinging between Northern and Southern European influences, and between Catholic and Protestant perspectives. After reading the book I feel like I could plot all of art history along these major axis.

As I read the book I put a sticky note on every painting I found especially interesting, and now I'm going back through all the bookmarked pages to do sketches. I've found when sketching from a heavy book, it's good to set it up in a cookbook stand. And try to keep the cat away from the piles of graphite shavings.

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Reader Comments (5)

OMG I love Sister Wendy. I love her so much, in fact, that I married her even though she is a nun.

December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpatula

I was surprised to find out she lives in complete silence in a cloister when she is not traveling for art and documentaries!

December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSadie Jernigan Valeri

I think she's such a unique, amazing person. She's just about the only clerical representative I am prepared to listen to - she's written some books on the subject of faith and spirituality as well.

Actually, I think she's Yoda. :-D

December 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpatula

these are beautiful, sadie!

December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersarah meredith

Sadie, I think this is such a good idea.....to practice drawing and learning so much from the old masters while doing it. I'm going to start with some art books I have and maybe buy Sister Wendy's after the holiday bills are cleared up.

January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Ross
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