Figure Drawings

A discussion on figure drawing beginning with Leonard’s Vitruvian man, showing the proportions of the human body


Leonardo da Vinci, L’Uomo Vitruviano, c1490, pen and ink with wash over metal point on paper, 35 × 26 cm, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

and one of his studies of a hand


Leonardo da Vinci, Study of a Hand

Seven examples of the depiction of the human figure

The work of Egon Schiele may serve as a basis for the representation of the use of the figure in art. His style is only one of countless others


Egon Schiele, Girl with Black Hair, 1911, watercolour & graphite pencil on paper, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio, USA


Egon Schiele, Girl with Black Hair, 1911, watercolour & graphite pencil on paper, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio, USA


Egon Schiele, Crouching Nude


Egon Schiele, Standing Male Nude with Red Loincloth, 1914, Albertina, Vienna


Egon Schiele, Girl in a Yellow Jacket

A cave painting, to show that mankind has always needed to draw


Big Horn Rhino cave painting, c30,000 BC, Chauvet, Ardèche, France

and a drawing, indicating simplicity and flowing movement


Pablo Picasso, Drawing of a head

MC, Meeting No23, 21 August 2018

Picasso and the Dove

Back to Birds in Art

Picasso’s father was a pigeon fancier, and Pablo spent his childhood in Málaga surrounded by the birds. His father was also an artist and taught him how to draw them.

One of the early works in his blue period shows a child holding a dove


Pablo Picasso, L’enfant au pigeon, 1901, oil on canvas, 73 x 54 cm, Private Collection

He included them in this painting from his cubist period


Pablo Picasso, Femme aux pigeons, 1930, pastel on paper applied to canvas, 200 x 185 cm, Centre Pompidou, Paris

The model for this work was Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom he had met in 1927, and who was his partner for more than ten years.


Pablo Picasso 1881–1973, La Colombe, 1949, lithograph on paper, 57 x 76 cm, Tate Gallery, London

Picasso made the lithograph on 9 January 1949 in the atelier of the printmaker Fernand Mourlot in Paris. It is  a traditional, realistic picture of a pigeon which had been given to him by his great friend Matisse.

The image was used to illustrate the poster of the 1949 Paris Peace Congress and became not only the symbol of the Peace Congresses but also of the ideals of world Communism. The Congrès mondial des Partisans de la paix opened in Paris on 20 April.


The day before, Picasso’s partner, Françoise Gilot, had given birth to his fourth child, who was named Paloma, the Spanish word for dove.


Picasso later developed this image into a simple, graphic line drawing that is one of the world’s most recognisable symbols of peace.


Pablo Picasso, L’Atelier (Pigeons), 1957

Matisse and Picasso had known each other since 1904 when they were introduced at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein. They were not only friends but each had a profound influence on one another and their art.

After Matisse died in 1954, Picasso was devastated. He moved his family to a large villa near Cannes,  and painted a series of eleven paintings which he called Studio in the style of his friend, and in homage to him. Many of them feature doves, which were beloved of Matisse.


Henri Cartier-Bresson, Matisse and his pigeons, 1944




We have traced, very briefly, the history of French art  from Academic Romanticism (e.g. painters such as Bouguereau,  Meissonnier and Delacroix), to the Realists (Courbet), to the Impressionists (too many to list!!) and to Post-Impressionism (Cézanne, Seurat, Gauguin and van Gogh).

What came next?

FAUVISM  (The Wild Ones)  c. 1905

Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck, André Dérain, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Duffy, Georges Braque

They separated colour from its purely descriptive purpose, thus placing it on the canvas as   an independent element.
MOOD projection was displayed as well as SUBJECT.

CUBISM  c.1907

Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, Paul Cézanne, Juan Gris, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger

…leading to Abstract painting

Piet Mondrian, Diego Rivera, Paul Klee, Alberto Giocometti


… David Hockney, Francis Bacon


Paul Cézanne, Mont Saint Victoire, 1904, oil on canvas, 79 x 89 cm, Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Paul Cézanne, Mont Saint Victoire, 1895, oil on canvas, Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA, USA


Paul Cézanne, Château noir, 1904, oil on canvas, 74 x 97 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA


Juan Gris, Portrait of Pablo Picasso, 1912, oil on canvas, Art Institute, Chicago, USA


Juan Gris, Guitar and Music Paper, 1927, oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm, Saidenberg Gallery, New York, NY, USA


Pablo Picasso, Self Portrait, 1907, oil on canvas, 50 x 46 cm, Narodni Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic


Pablo Picasso, Bread with Fruit Dish on a Table, 1909, oil on canvas, 164 x 132 cm, Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland

From 1909 Braque and Picasso worked together to develop Cubism.

Shown below are three examples of their work in collage, which was then used in fine art for the first time.


Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin, 1910, oil on canvas, 100 x 74 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA


Pablo Picasso, Guitar, 1913, collage, 66 x 50 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA


Georges Braque, Guitar, collage, 1913, 100 x 65 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA


Pablo Picasso, L’Usine, Horta de Ebro, 1909, oil on canvas, 51 x 60, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg


Georges Braque, Bateaux de pêche, 1909, oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA


Cubism was to lead eventually to the de Styl movement of Piet Mondrian

and , thus, the beginning of Abstraction.

The two World Wars, I would suggest, put an end to any further logical discussion on the French art with which we have become so familiar.

Fragmentation seems now to be the order of the day.

MH 17 April 2018, Meeting No 15