Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ingres drawing, overlapping lines

Another device that Ingres and other line draftsmen use is overlapping lines. Above is the "Study for the golden age", a very beutiful and important Ingres drawing. Below I have cropped out a detail and drawn some cryptic lines and numbers on it.

If you look at the bounding line of the figure, what Ives Gammell sometimes called the arabesque you will notice it is not entirely uninterrupted. Ingres has cut some of his lines diving into the interior to express the overlapping forms of the musculature. I don't have my anatomy books with me tonight so I will spare you most of the nomenclature. I am going by memory so you artistic anatomists are welcome to correct me in the comments.

1) Here is a real good example of what I am describing, Ingres has shown the biceps diving down under the pectoralis major, and on the viewers left the triceps diving in under the teres major and minor. He has clearly expressed the way these forms meet. His overlapping forms are installed from his knowledge of anatomy as much as they are observed.
External oblique

At 3) the pectoral shows itself in front of the neck, this overlap establishes dimension. That neck is obviously behind the top line of the pectoral

At 4) the underside of the chin cuts in front of the sterno-clito mastoid, which goes behind it on its way to the base of the unseen ear.

At 5) the line is darkened, I believe that is the Latisimus dorsi there, and when the line begins to represent the ribcage it goes soft. By varying his line weight here he is able to separate out the different masses.

At 6) The external oblique is depicted by a line that cuts inside the outline of the figure. Whew, I hope I got those right!

So here is the point. Rather than a dumb outline like a coathanger or a traced silhouette, Ingres uses lines that overlap and dive inwards across another line to show the overlapping of forms.

Like the other nights post showing the varying of line weight to express form without leaving the discipline of pure line, Ingres uses overlapping lines to express the form without having to resort to much shading which would clutter up the open lights of his spare drawing.


Mary Byrom said...

Very nice! Love these drawings.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful posts on drawing--these are so helpful. I hope you will do more of these.

Your blog is consistently great! Judy

George Perdue said...

Interesting Stape. Cezanne used these in his landscape. You describe the purpose well. Amazing how elements of one genre are installed in another.

jerrycampbell said...

Thanks for composing these posts on Ingres, Stape. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed his work. What a draughtsman!

NPMartin said...

This is of great importance not only for the Illustrators, but for the Animators as well.
Thanks again for all of your knowledgeable posts, Mr. Stape!

billspaintingmn said...

Thanks Stape! I wouldn't know if you were right or wrong with the names of the muscles. However you have made me aware of the accuracy
and placement of these lines.
Very cool indeed!

The hip bone connected to the back bone...

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks also. I don't know what I am doing next!

Stapleton Kearns said...

How did Cezanne get in here?

Stapleton Kearns said...

He doesn't get enough attention these days.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I know nothing about animation, if I have been useful to them that is good though.

Stapleton Kearns said...

No one seems to have complained yet.

jeff said...

If I may add something here.
For anyone wanting to get better at drawing I would highly recommend
The Charles Bargue/Gerome drawing course book.

It contains a lot of drawing lessons that are deigned to hone ones drawing skills and they are very close to how the ideas that Ingres used in drawing. It's a pricey book, but well worth the price.