Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The First Annual Drawing Competition hopes to gather together the greatest draftsmen to work on a single figure drawing over the course of 5 days. Drawings will be done from one model and one pose.

drawing by Jacob Collins

Drawing skills are the bedrock of good painting, and the foundation on which form and color can most truthfully be expressed. It is incumbent on the artist to routinely sharpen and develop these skills from life. The intent of this competition is to bring greater prestige and honor to those artists who have devoted time and energy to honing these abilities. It will be a pure test of drawing skills.

The draftsman who executes the most beautiful drawing will be awarded the Grand Prize accompanied by the title, Apelles. The second place prize includes the title, Protogenes. The winning draftsmen will hold these titles until the next annual competition. Cash prizes to be announced.

Participants will be selected on the basis of a portfolio submission consisting of five images, including at least three figure drawings. All artists, from students to professionals, young and old, are encouraged to apply. There is no entrance fee, and no fee to compete. Please send all inquiries and entries to GCAdrawingcompetition@gmail.com.

The Story of Apelles and Protogenes

Apelles and Protogenes were renowned painters of Ancient Greece during the time of Alexander the Great (4th century BC). They were rivals and also advocates of each other’s work. Stories tell of their daily precise practice of outlining, and the laborious fine finish they brought to their work, whether drawings or paintings.

Their rivalry tested who could draw the finest, steadiest line and has famously been recorded in an anecdote in Pliny’s Natural History.

Apelles travelled to Protogenes' home in Rhodes to make the acquaintance of this painter he had heard so much about. Arriving at Protogenes' studio, he encountered an old woman who told him that Protogenes was out and asked for his name so she could report who had enquired after him.

Observing in the studio a panel Protogenes had prepared for a painting, Apelles walked over to the easel, and taking up a brush told the servant to tell Protogenes "this came from me," and drew in colour an extremely fine line across the panel.

When Protogenes returned, and the old woman explained what had taken place, he examined the line and pronounced that only Apelles could have done so perfect of work; Protogenes then dipped a brush into another colour and drew a still finer line above the first one, and asked his servant to show this to the visitor should he return.

When Apelles returned, and was shown Protogenes' response, ashamed that he might be bettered, he drew in a third colour an even finer line between the first two, leaving no room for another display of craftsmanship.

On seeing this, Protogenes admitted defeat, and went out to seek Apelles and meet him face-to-face.

(Retold by Guillaume Apollinaire)


Darren said...

I've read two versions of this story. In one, as Apollinaire says, Protogenes painted his line above Apelles' and Apelles' countered with another line above Protogenes'.

In the other version, Protogenes painted his line on top of Apelles' and Apelles' 'split' Protogenes' line in half by painting his on top of it.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Andrew Jackson’s Big Block of Cheese with nary a macaroni in sight.