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The Art of Teaching ArtA Guide for Teaching and Learning the Foundations of Drawing-Based Art$
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Deborah A. Rockman

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130799

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195130799.001.0001

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Teaching Essential Drawing Principles in Relation to the Human Figure

Teaching Essential Drawing Principles in Relation to the Human Figure

(p.91) Chapter 2 Teaching Essential Drawing Principles in Relation to the Human Figure
The Art of Teaching Art

Deborah A. Rockman

Oxford University Press

There is perhaps no more significant experience in the study of drawing than the study of the human figure. One needs only to look to the ancient Greeks and to the Renaissance masters to recognize the historical importance of the human form in the study of the visual arts and the refinement of visual expression. Although the figure’s presence and significance during the period known as modernism and in contemporary art has ebbed and flowed, its influence is always felt to some degree, and no classical or traditional art education would be complete without a substantial focus on drawing and studying the human form. Much debate is currently taking place about the changing role and responsibility of foundation courses for students studying both the fine and applied arts. If we examine those aspects that the fine and applied arts have in common, we find that a concern for communication is paramount, whether it takes place in a gallery or museum, in a television or magazine ad, on a showroom floor, on a computer monitor, or in any number of other locales. The power of the human form to communicate cannot be overstated, primarily because it is what we are. We have things in common with other humans that we have in common with nothing else. Looking at a human form in any context has the potential to provide us with the experience of looking in the mirror, of seeing our own reflection, so to speak. It follows that any significant experience in visual communication must thoroughly examine the role of the figure, and for the visual artist this requires experience with drawing the figure. The fine and applied arts also have in common a concern for principles of design and aesthetics. If we acknowledge the presence of these principles in nature, then we may also recognize an element of universality. Quite simply, I can think of no finer example of the application of principles of design and aesthetics than the living, breathing human form, and the human form is universal.

Keywords:   adductor muscles, contemporary art, dimensional lines, elderly, flexor muscles, hair, infants, lips, modernism

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