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Monday Evening Sculpture – IN-PERSON with Brandt Junceau
Course full – please email Records & Operations Manager Jessica McDaniels, to join the waitlist.
The Head from Life. It’s 2023 and our idea of good portrait bust is still the Naturalism of Carpeaux and Rodin, fellow travelers of Balzac, Flaubert and Proust. Making a good portrait head today, the question is still how did Rodin do it?
We begin with two exercises without a model, followed by 9 working sessions from the model. It’s hands-on. If you’re willing, you really will do it the way Rodin did it. Which is more workmanlike and less artistic than people expect. He asked a lot of his eye and didn’t waste any time.
The goal is a fair likeness, but not a still life. A bust is a very special kind of object– it can’t succeed unless it is unique, vivacious, and looks back. You do that with your hands. While staring at someone else, you learn a lot about your hands, and what makes a three dimensional “picture.” You may be surprised at how far a good sculptural eye is from anatomy, and how little clay moves to get from a determined stare to a melting look.
The technique is basic throughout. If you haven’t modelled in clay before, you could start here. And take three terra cottas away with you. It isn’t staring at a model the whole evening– some evenings start out with a particular problem, for example, a fist-size skull from the model, or the Giacometti exercise– a fist-size sketch from life (another student) at 6 feet distance. That radicalizes the confrontation with the model, and presses very close to caricature.
Along the way, frequent short slide talks. We see a lot.Observation is a skill that can’t be taken for granted. It has to be inspired, and nurtured. This class has to be as much about seeing as making. And taking a trip to the third dimension, which hardly anyone can take for granted anymore. The screen has got in the way. This class is a conceptual eye-opener. It makes the museum a different place and you won’t ever see people in the street, or at home, the same way again.