Modern Art drawing teachers

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Modern Art drawing teachers

From Mani Deli

Published before 2005


In the first art school I attended I experienced the results of the Bauhaus outlook put into practice. Anyone who read the titles of the list of courses given there would have been deluded into thinking that craft was well taught. How could one doubt this from the titles of the courses offered; "Drawing," "Figure Drawing," "Two-Dimensional Design" and "Painting?" But it all amounted to little more than a regimen of Minimalism, intellectual pretense and lots of meaningless aphorisms.

Here's a typical experience which I don't doubt others here have had. At the start of the drawing course the room was full of students [who] were busy as beavers attempting to render the entire nude figure, although none in my opinion even had enough knowledge to draw the chair the model sat on. They worked hard. The more talented students or those who had previous training fared somewhat better than the rest. But it was obvious that no one could draw an image that looked remotely like what could be considered a good drawing. Nothing equaled the level of the least skilled street corner portrait artist. However this oddly enough seemed to satisfy almost everyone.

The teacher who I later found couldn't draw would come around and make comments like, "the leg is off, the head is off, etc. I commented to a fellow student that the janitor of the building could see that, why can't this guy tell us how to fix it."

After a few weeks, a pattern developed in the drawing class. Most students who started ambitiously attempting to draw realistically, after a bit of trial and failure, ended up doing what they called "abstraction." Just about anything was OK and the teacher seemed happy.

Now our models here were usually older men and women who were somewhat excruciating to look at in the nude. One day in the middle of the semester we were surprised to find a younger, quite beautiful, woman posing for the class. Suddenly most students attempted to render the model very realistically. I can not forget noticing how this brought on a sudden surge away from abstraction.

It was interesting to see how easily an attractive model served to encouraged a desire to transfer beauty into an exact drawing. For me, a lot of philosophical hype went out the window when this occurred. However, the results which I have come to classify as "Modern Art School Realism," were all very similar, the usual incompetent, sloppily done scrawls on large sheets of newsprint. I have seen miles of such drawings since then. Today's art student results are still much the same.

Ironically the few students who stubbornly continued in an attempt to draw realistically invariably ended up with drawings which were far worse looking than those who chose to take up abstraction. These realistic attempts suffered from that lugubrious monotony common to the product of the unskilled. I quickly learned that drawing without adequate knowledge is a tedious task and the more complex the attempted task, the worse looking the result. The aesthetic offensiveness of drawings of nude models which contained just about every permutation of possible errors in rendering, still lingers in my memory.