Saturday, March 28, 2009

Luca Cambiaso

Here's a drawing
I saw last weekend in
this show at the Block Museum,

which reminded me
of another drawing by the same artist
that I saw in the
Goldman Collection
at the Art Institute last year.

Now, I realize,
I don't like Renaissance Italian drawings
so much as I like Luca Cambiaso

and here's the first one
I ever saw,
about 45 years ago
at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
(it was one of my father's favorites)

note: not that it's very important-
but the big toe on the lady's left leg
is on the wrong side of her foot.
The artist might have noticed that himself
when he finished -- but too late!

So now,

I'll just go whole hog,
and show as many as
I can find.

Here's the drawing
that made him so famous
in the early 20th Century.

An early cubist!

What could make a Modernist more happy?

But I'm more excited
by his rapturous control of space.
(though I'm also intrigued by
those block-headed figures
that he uses --
an early variant of the cone-heads
that would become famous centuries later
on American television)

Though, more likely,
it just shows that
he has a design
that's trying to become a narrative,
rather than
the other way around.

What a wonderful vision
of poor St. Paul falling off his horse
(and how much energy
is being released in every direction)

These lines
are as perfect
as those of Wang Hsi-chih

A nice image of St. Francis

Every squiggle
is just so right.

Here's a nice puzzle for you:
one of them is
by Cambiaso,
and the other is
someone else's copy.

Which is the original ?

The problem is.....
that he couldn't carry
this level of excitement
into the paintings
for which these were studies.

Unlike the great Chinese masters
of ink on paper,
European artists are basically
just high-end contractors.

They're small businessmen,
and perhaps they can't always afford
to bring exceptional quality
to all of their projects.

while these pieces
can be completed in a few hours. (or less)

so lively!

and I love how energy
moves across this scene
like a breeze
blowing through leaves
in a forest.

Poussin and Rembrandt
also made this kind
of wonderful drawing.

(but they could also carry that wonder
into their paintings)

every drop of ink is alive

here's the answer
to the question asked above.

the difference between
Cambiaso and the
other Renaissance draftsmen
is not one of degree.

It more like the difference
between poetry and journalism.

His sense of volume and space
is uncanny.


Anonymous Artiseternal said...

The beauty of these drawings is that they are so fluid, without hesitation, as if they just dripped of the pen with no effort - while we know that the artists of this period spent eight hours a day drawing, drawing, drawing, until they could go forward to the next stage of apprenticeship - and the remaining four hours would be mixing paints, running errands, learning the chemical mixtures they were dealing with, sharpening pens (for those wonderful ink drawings) and much more.
No wonder they got good!

March 31, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Good selection here Chris. Can never see enough good drawings.

April 01, 2009  
Blogger chris miller said...

I'm always happy when artists visit my worthless blog!

Maybe I should start a big website for figure drawing - except that I've already got too many ways to waste time.

My next project will be the drawings of "The Squinter" - Il Guercino.

April 01, 2009  
Blogger G David said...

This is a wonderful collection of work. I'm sending all my students to this site for them to check out this incredible draftsman. He's been one of my favorites since I first become aware of him close to 20 years ago. And one of my other favorites is none other than Guercino, a show of whom I was fortunate to have seen at the Kimball back in the '90's. I'm looking to forward to seeing that posting!

September 30, 2009  
Blogger chris miller said...

Glad you liked them!

I'm going to the Ryerson library tomorrow - so maybe that Guercino post will happen sooner than later.

September 30, 2009  
Blogger Ronnie Daelemans for Artbooksexplorer said...

As a prolific 16th century draftsman we did not want him to be missed in our database (Plastic arts - drawings - 16th century draftsmen ) Wellk brought.
Ronnie Daelemans for Artbooksexplorer

January 31, 2012  

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