Figure, form, and light: Rego, Vermeer, Lautrec, Schiele, da Vinci

Not yet a research point but as I came across it via the drawing module, I’m including some of the material here.

Toulouse Lautrec – before the simplified nature of his posters (necessitated, I understand, by the printing process), his drawings were quite loose and almost cartoonish. There was a great deal of movement and energy, often with large numbers of characters and a focal individual. ‘La Danse au Moulin Rouge’ looks to me like a picture of spontaneous uninhibited fun.

Egon Schiele – I envy the economy of line, and suggestion of form, but I am less keen on the disturbing content. It doesn’t surprise me to find he was very troubled.

Paula Rego – this woman’s drawings really appeal to me; big, solid female figures with lots of volume and representing the antithesis of Degas’ pretty dancers. Her subject matter is also disturbing, as was her life, but introspective and self-analytical rather than simply expressive of disturbance. Her drawing is a very different animal from both Schiele and Lautrec’s.

Leonardo DaVinci – there is no way I can fail to refer to his work; anatomically precise, observational, clearly expressed, and with the gaze of a scientist, not a voyeur. It seems to me he was a documenter of the human body rather than an interpreter.

Johannes Vermeer – what I like most about his work is its plainness. These are so often domestic scenes, innocent but in no way saccharine, his female subjects are clothed, and beautifully lit – often by natural light from a window. The one that always now comes to mind is his Study of a Young Woman in which his model looks back at him from the picture with the kind of trust in her eyes that you would give to an old family friend who had never looked at you with self interest in his own eyes.chiele and Lautrec’s.


Paula Rego (and my attempted copy).


Vermeer top left, Schiele beneath, da Vinci top right, Lautrec bottom right.

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