Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Cast Drawing Class at Columbia University

Several months ago, Columbia University approached Jacob Collins and the GCA with an interest in establishing a cast drawing class in its art program. This interest has materialized in the form of "Academic Cast Drawing", a course taught by GCA instructor Edward Minoff. The class meets every Tuesday evening at Dodge Hall on the beautiful Columbia campus.
The Columbia University class at work

Course Description: Academic Cast Drawing

Students will connect with the very heart of the Western Art tradition, engaging in this critical activity that was the pillar of draftsmanship training from the Rennaissance on through the early Modern Era. This pursuit is the common thread that links artists from Michelangelo and Rubens to Van Gogh and Picasso. Rigorous studies will be executed from plaster casts of antique sculptures and pedagogical engravings. Students will confront foundational issues of academic training; assessing proportion and tonal value, structure and form. Hours will be spent on a single drawing pushing to the highest degree of accuracy in order develop a means for looking at nature. There is a focus on precision and gaining a thorough understanding of the interaction between light and a surface. This approach emphasizes drawing by understanding the subject and the physical world that defines it. While this training has allowed great representational artists of the past to unlock the poetry from the world around them and continues to inspire a surging new realist movement, it can also serve as a new way of seeing and a launching point for achieving creative goals.

Instructor Edward Minoff's demo sphere drawing
I managed to make it over to the most recent session to take a look at the class's work and see their progress. Adapting classical cast drawing to fit into a collegiate structure has been an interesting challenge for Edward Minoff, but I was impressed by the class's focus and interest in the classical methods.
The class runs through the entire semester, from February to April. The students began with the basics of measuring and shape relationships through copies of the block-in Bargue feature plates, soon moving on to the figure plates. They then switched to block-ins from the actual feature casts; while becoming introduced to form concepts by rendering spheres in graphite. When I visited, the class was just beginning to render their block-ins, which they will continue to do for the rest of the semester. We look forward to their continued progress!

Columbia University student drawing


Anonymous said...

the girl in the middle of that picture could not look LESS ENTHUSED!

Connor de Jong said...

On the contrary, she was closely examining the differences between her drawing and the cast. They were a focused and interested group.

Anonymous said...

The tilt of her head says form contemplation. The relaxation of her orbicularis oculi says daydream. A higher resolution image is necessary for any definitive conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Of course the girl is attentive. This course is very demanding. Why must you look for something negative? Give it a rest and learn something.