Model in the Interior
In our second last life drawing class we were introduced to the notion of drawing the model in the interior and I had no idea what how complex the subject could be.
Drawing the model in the interior involves a dialogue between wildly different elements, sometimes in conflict or opposition with each other. Depictions of interiors can reveal a great deal about human life, social conditions, politics, history and the personality and mood of the artist.
To start with, the figure needs to be compatible with the interior; the two elements must go together. The interior becomes somewhat of a “still life” with the figure adding specificity. The conflict results from the figure distorting the sense of interior environment of the drawing. The psychology is within the figure and in the field much less.
Secondly, the figure in an interior symbolizes a certain take on an individual in terms of his interior/exterior. The interior becomes a pictorial desire to gain light inside and another kind of light outside and therein lays the contrast, the interior and exterior lights are different.
There is an exception in the interiors of Matisse. His outdoors and indoors were consistent (except in the drawing) and sometimes his outdoors were more artificial and illuminated than the inside. His exteriors appeared to be a continuation of interior space.
“Open Window Collioure” – Henri Matisse 1905
In 1942 an interviewer asked Matisse, “Where does the charm of your open windows come from?” He replied:
“Probably from the fact that for me the space is one unity from the horizon right to the interior of my work room, and that the boat which is going past exists in the same space as the familiar objects around me; and the wall within the window does not recreate two different worlds.” From a radio broadcast transcript made available by Pierre Schneider, J. D. Flam, Matisse on Art, Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1978.
My favourite drawings of the model in the interior (above) were done by American artist Richard Diebenkorn.
In a 1952 radio interview Diebenkorn stated, “There is a hierarchy of importance to the various elements, the chair less, the rug less, the hands, clothes more, the faces vary accordingly.”
Here are some drawings I did in class.
Can’t say I was overly pleased with them. The teacher said the man on the top right was too skinny and the lady on the stool drawing needs to be cleaned up. Oh well, back to the drawing board so to say!
A drawing and painting site by Edward A Burke is a great reference.