Students draw from the life, and their early neglect of the antique, were the only reasons which caused Fuseli to hesitate in so unconditional an advice. But Sir Joshua Reynolds with more confidence in the truth of the principle says, "I have thought this the obstacle that has stopped the progress of many young men of real genius ; and I very much doubt whether a habit of drawing correctly what we see will not give a proportionable power of drawing correctly what we imagine. He who endeavours to copy nicely the figure before him, not only acquires a habit of exactness and precision, but is continually advancing in his knowledge of the human figure ; and though he seems to superficial observers to make a slower progress, he will be found at last capable of adding (without running into capricious wildness) that grace and beauty which is necessary to be given to his more finished works, and which cannot be got by the modems, as it was not acquired by the ancients, but by an attentive and well compared study of the human form."
The evils of which Fuseli complains may be ascribed to carelessness of outline and neglect of the study of anatomy; for how can a figure which is roughly sketched in six outlines, and shaded even before the proportions are right, have any other effect upon its author than to discourage and disgust ? And it is for this reason that a finished drawing from the life by a Stu- dent is so rarely to be seen. Nor is it possible that his studies here can be of much advantage without an accompanying study of anatomy; if he has not an opportunity of dissecting for himself or attending lectures and demonstrations, which should certainly form a part of academical instruction,*
* It is not to be supposed that a student, however deeply convinced of its necessity, will voluntarily enter upon such an arduous and disagreeable study as long as his application is a matter of his own choice.
he should have constant reference to anatomical works ; and should with their assistance make sketches from memory of the figure on which he is engaged, and draw the muscles as they appear in that position.
If the object then is to learn, the living model must be drawn with absolute accuracy, not only of its general character, but also of the minute details of anatomy and individual expression.
The plan recommended in drawing from the antique is available also here, with the exception that as greater rapidity is demanded, so much the more method is necessary. It is desirable at the first sitting, or if possible before the model rests for the first time, to mark the general proportions and bearing of the points, as in all probability no other opportunity will be offered of obtaining the real action of the figure. This having been done and the general masses made out, the limbs and other parts may be drawn in the square, which is the most rapid way of obtaining the proportions, as strait lines are more easily drawn than curved.
As the Student may be supposed by this time to have had some practice in shading, there is no necessity of his following the plan before mentioned, of putting the broad-shadows in first ; and as the figure will be constantly changing, it will be best to proceed with that part which is in the same position as the drawing. He would gain assistance however from first marking the brightest light and the strongest depth as a guide for the intervening tints.
The foregoing remarks apply to academical drawings, but not to those sketches which are made in the working out of designs, or for the completion of historical pictures. For this purpose a different plan must be pursued, owing to an entire want of the right action and energy in the living model. The