"The model is not to be copied, but to be realized." (Robert Henri)
"Every time I await a model, even when I am most pressed to time, I am overjoyed when the time comes and I tremble when I hear the key turn in the door." (Eugene Delacroix)
"The interaction between Model and Artist,may be the most profound,intimate connection two human beings may have without ever touching". -Me
This is a very important topic to me(Interest)...as have been a Artist's Model for so many years
The Question of the Nude
We can now approach our question from a more reasonable standpoint, since it seems probable that the answer to why there have been no great women artists lies not in the nature of individual genius or the lack of it, but in the nature of given social institutions and what they forbid or encourage in various classes or groups of individuals.
Let us first examine such a simple, but critical, issue as availability of the nude model to aspiring women artists, in the period extending from the Renaissance until near the end of the 19th century, a period in which careful and prolonged study of the nude model was essential to the training of every young artist, to the production of any work with pretentions to grandeur, and to the very essence of History Painting, generally accepted as the highest category of art: indeed, it was argued by defenders of traditional painting in the 19th century that there could be no great painting with clothed figures, since costume inevitably destroyed both the temporal universality and the classical idealization required by great art. Needless to say, central to the training programs of the academies since their inception late in the 16th and early in the 17th centuries, was life drawing from the nude, generally male, model. In addition, groups of artists and their pupils often met privately for life drawing sessions from the nude model in their studios. In general, it might be added, while individual artists and private academies employed the female model extensively, the female nude was forbidden in almost all public art schools as late as 1850 and after—a state of affairs which Pevsner rightly designates as “hardly believable.”10 Far more believable, unfortunately, was the complete unavailability to the aspiring woman artist of any nude models at all, male or female. As late as 1893, “lady” students were not admitted to life drawing at the Royal Academy in London, and even when they were, after that date, the model had to be “partially draped.”11
A brief survey of representations of life-drawing sessions reveals: an all male clientele drawing from the female nude in Rembrandt’s studio; men working from male nudes in 18th-century representations of academic instruction in The Hague and Vienna; men working from the seated male nude in Bailly’s charming painting of the interior of Houdon’s studio at the beginning of the 19th century; Mathieu Cochereau’s scrupulously veristic Interior of David’s Studio, exhibited in the Salon of 1814, reveals a group of young men diligently drawing or painting from a male nude model, whose discarded shoes may be seen before the models’ stand.
The very plethora of surviving “Academies”—detailed, painstaking studies from the nude studio model—in the youthful oeuvre of artists down through the time of Seurat and well into the 20th century, attests to the central importance of this branch of study in the pedagogy and development of the talented beginner. The formal academic program itself normally proceeded, as a matter of course, from copying from drawings and engravings, to drawing from casts of famous works of sculpture, to drawing from the living model. To be deprived of this ultimate stage of training meant, in effect, to be deprived of the possibility of creating major art works, unless one were a very ingenious lady indeed, or simply, as most of the women aspiring to be painters ultimately did, to restrict oneself to the “minor” fields of portraiture, genre, landscape or still-life. It is rather as though a medical student were denied the opportunity to dissect or even examine the naked human body.
There exist, to my knowledge, no representations of artists drawing from the nude model which include women in any role but that of the nude model itself, an interesting commentary on rules of propriety: i.e., it is all right for a (“low,” of course) woman to reveal herself naked-as-an-object for a group of men, but forbidden to a woman to participate in the active study and recording of naked-man-as-an-object, or even of a fellow woman. An amusing example of this taboo on confronting a dressed lady with a naked man is embodied in a group portrait of the members of the Royal Academy in London in 1772, represented by Zoffany as gathered in the life room before two nude male models: all the distinguished members are present with but one noteworthy exception—the single female member, the renowned Angelica Kauffmann, who, for propriety’s sake, is merely present in effigy, in the form of a portrait hanging on the wall. A slightly earlier drawing of Ladies in the Studio by the Polish artist Daniel Chodowiecki, shows the ladies portraying a modestly dressed member of their sex. In a lithograph dating from the relatively liberated epoch following the French Revolution, the lithographer Marlet has represented some women sketchers in a group of students working from the male model, but the model himself has been chastely provided with what appears to be a pair of bathing trunks, a garment hardly conducive to a sense of classical elevation: no doubt such license was considered daring in its day, and the young ladies in question suspected of doubtful morals, but even this liberated state of affairs seems to have lasted only a short while. In an English stereoscopic color view of the interior of a studio of about 1865, the standing, bearded male model is so heavily draped that not an iota of his anatomy escapes from the discreet toga, save for a single bare shoulder and arm: even so, he obviously had the grace to avert his eyes in the presence of the crinoline-clad young sketchers.
The women in the Women’s Modeling Class at the Pennsylvania Academy were evidently not allowed even this modest privilege. A photograph by Thomas Eakins of about 1885 reveals these students modeling from a cow (bull? ox? the nether regions are obscure in the photograph), a naked cow to be sure, perhaps a daring liberty when one considers that even piano legs might be concealed beneath pantalettes during this era (the idea of introducing a bovine model into the artist’s studio stems from Courbet, who brought a bull into his short-lived studio academy in the 1860s). Only at the very end of the 19th century, in the relatively liberated and open atmosphere of Repin’s studio and circle in Russia, do we find representations of women art students working uninhibitedly from the nude—the female model, to be sure—in the company of men. Even in this case, it must be noted that certain photographs represent a private sketch group meeting in one of the women artists’ homes; in the other, the model is draped; and the large group portrait, a co-operative effort by two men and two women students of Repin’s, is an imaginary gathering together of all of the Russian realist’s pupils, past and present, rather than a realistic studio view.
I have gone into the question of the availability of the nude model, a single aspect of the automatic, institutionally-maintained discrimination against women, in such detail simply to demonstrate both the universality of the discrimination against women and its consequences, as well as the institutional rather than individual nature of but one facet of the necessary preparation for achieving mere proficiency, much less greatness, in the realm of art during a long stretch of time. One could equally well examine other dimensions of the situation, such as the apprenticeship system, the academic educational pattern which, in France especially, was almost the only key to success and which had a regular progression and set competitions, crowned by the Prix de Rome which enabled the young winner to work in the French Academy in that city—unthinkable for women, of course—and for which women were unable to compete until the end of the 19th century, by which time, in fact, the whole academic system had lost its importance anyway. It seems clear, to take France in the 19th century as an example, a country which probably had a larger proportion of women artists than any other—that is to say, in terms of their percentage in the total number of artists exhibiting in
the Salon—that “women were not accepted as professional painters.”12 In the middle of the century, there were only a third as many women as men artists, but even this mildly encouraging statistic is deceptive when we discover that out of this relatively meager number, none had attended that major stepping stone to artistic success, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, only 7 percent had received any official commission or had held any official office—and these might include the most menial sort of work—only 7 percent had ever received any Salon medal, and none had ever received the Legion of Honor.13 Deprived of encouragements, educational facilities and rewards, it is almost incredible that a certain percentage of women did persevere and seek a profession in the arts.
It also becomes apparent why women were able to compete on far more equal terms with men—and even become innovators—in literature. While art-making traditionally has demanded the learning of specific techniques and skills, in a certain sequence, in an institutional setting outside the home, as well as becoming familiar with a specific vocabulary of iconography and motifs, the same is by no means true for the poet or novelist. Anyone, even a women, has to learn the language, can learn to read and write, and can commit personal experiences to paper in the privacy of one’s room. Naturally this oversimplifies the real difficulties and complexities involved in creating good or great literature, whether by man or woman, but it still gives a clue as to the possibility of the existence of Emily Brönte or an Emily Dickinson, and the lack of their counterparts, at least until quite recently, in the visual arts.
Of course we have not gone into the “fringe” requirements for major artists, which would have been, for the most part, both psychically and socially closed to women, even if hypothetically they could have achieved the requisite grandeur in the performance of their craft: in the Renaissance and after, the great artist, aside from participating in the affairs of an academy, might well be intimate with members of humanist circles with whom he could exchange ideas, establish suitable relationships with patrons, travel widely and freely, perhaps politic and intrigue; nor have we mentioned the sheer organizational acumen and ability involved in running a major studio-factory, like that of Rubens. An enormous amount of self-confidence and worldly knowledgeability, as well as a natural sense of well-earned dominance and power, was needed by the great chef d’école, both in the running of the production end of painting, and in the control and instruction of the numerous students and assistants. - http://newsgrist.typepad.com/underbelly/
This is Augustana's Statement on their Life Drawing Classes(A place I modeled many years)......A Reflection on the Use of Nude Models in the Art Department Curriculum at Augustana College: Theological and Academic Underpinnings
Inspired by Lutheran scholarly tradition and the liberal arts, Augustana provides an education of enduring worth that challenges the intellect, fosters integrity and integrates faith with learning and service in a diverse world. The College is committed to the education and enrichment of the whole person including exposure to enduring forms of aesthetic and creative expression. In the great tradition of the humane sciences in western civilization, we take it as axiomatic that knowledge of drawing the human form is fundamental to the serious study of art and the training of professional artists in a liberal arts education. For the last seven decades, our Art Department has established a long and distinguished tradition in liturgical and figurative art studies, including the installation of liturgical works of art by professors emeriti Palmer Eide and Robert Aldern in churches throughout the upper Midwest and the establishment of the permanent home for the Hovland Center for Liturgical Arts in Augustana’s new Center of Visual Arts, which was dedicated in 2006. As a church-affiliated college, we take seriously the religious and spiritual dimensions involved in the process of self-discovery, expression and creating lasting works of art. We seek to educate our students in the life-long appreciation of all forms of art and to develop within each individual an understanding of her own code of values and ethics as she seeks to live her life both fully and imaginatively. A Lutheran understanding of grace suggests that God is revealed in the unexpected and overlooked, that through vulnerability and generosity we come closer to knowing what we can not see, and that balance and beauty are necessary to knowing a manifest, creative, living, loving, and compassionate God. To be able to see, one must remain open to the world. As a department, we are custodians to the time-honored traditions of our discipline and to conveying the great contributions of the artists of the past. One could no more study 19thand 20th-century European continental philosophy without a foundation in Kierkegaard or even classical Greek philosophy than one could study 19th- or 20th-century European art without looking to the Golden Age of Athens or the Renaissance for antecedents. The expressive potential for the human form realized in the Renaissance resulted directly from the study of ancient Greek and Roman art. Ever since, the human figure has remained the principal focus of study in western art and art education. At Augustana, we are committed to teaching the fundamentals of art and design and have included the nude model in our art curriculum for more than forty years. As part of the course of studies in art at Augustana, we require all our art majors to successfully complete Drawing II: Intermediate Drawing (ART 201). This course focuses on the theory and practice in the elements of drawing with an emphasis upon the human figure. This requirement is in place because without this course, we can not provide a sufficiently rigorous, traditional and academically solid foundation for our students who major in art. Drawing from the human figure is the keystone to understanding form and we do not offer an opt-out option.
To study art is to discern what makes us uniquely human. Genesis begins this way, with man and woman created in God’s own image. We acknowledge the inherent beauty of the human form and that it is indeed a worthy subject of study. The lessons learned in drawing the human form teach us to recognize each individual’s uniqueness and worth and for the need to treat the human form with dignity and respect. Great drawing refuses stereotypes and pre-judgment. To look at the model means to see another person in the flesh for who they really are: a sovereign, living individual. Errant conceptions become painfully obvious. Nothing is comparably as difficult, or as expressive, or as finely tuned as our experience of seeing and drawing the human form. The trillion gestural possibilities and seemingly infinite subtle structures of the human body suggest that new discoveries are still possible and that drawing as a discipline is as much a visual process as it is a practice. Balance, proportion, movement, gesture, economy, harmony and vitality of form all extend from the study of drawing the model. You must constantly question what you see, leaving behind what you think you know, take risks, and try to see things fresh again like a child filled with wonder each time you draw. In preparation for drawing from the model, our students study the forms and functions of the osseous and muscular systems of the human body, similar to students of pre-medicine. Illustrated lectures, readings, slides of master drawings (digital projections) and discussions all contribute to the preparation of the student for drawing from the model for the first time. We specifically discuss in class why we draw from the figure and what the student can expect. We also review the protocols described below which allow each student to understand what is expected of him or her in the studio classroom and to assure that a dignified and respectful environment is maintained. Ongoing discussions, artist presentations, slide lectures, further anatomical studies and readings all contribute to the development of the individual student and allow for proper context and reflection on the experience. A course syllabus is available for review. Our protocols in the classroom are highly professional and appropriate. We do not hire students; we hire outside the College. Models are paid a professional rate through the Augustana payroll system in which taxes are taken out like any other contract employee of the College. Models are given a private room in which to change and students are never allowed in this room when the model is present. Students never see a model changing into or out of his or her clothes. Models also utilize robes or other clothing during breaks. Students are never allowed to approach the model while he or she is posing. We do not have models in our first semester foundation classes, we draw or paint from the figure only in our advanced studio classes. Our models do not wear skimpy or other suggestive clothing which could change the understanding of our classroom as a learning environment. The drawing studio classroom has examples of great master drawings of the nude on the walls. Skeletons, skull casts and ecorche figures are on display in the studio classroom to further a serious academic and investigative tone. Windows and doors are always shut when classes are in session and no visitors are allowed.
—draft statement by Scott Parsons, modified March 7, 2009
Mount Saint Claire College.Clinton, Ia.
How to Become An Artist's Model by Kelly Borsheim
"Quotes from her website"
"Here's the deal: when you are hired as an artist's model, you are the solo star of the show."
Life Drawing/ Figure Drawing (imformative sites)