Chandeliers and da Vinci

There are a few perks to having His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as a patron. They include being able to draw in some rather special places and being invited to see a unique art collection. On Tuesday our troop of art students, packed lunches at the ready, took a train down to Windsor Castle, where we were allowed to draw in the state apartments. We passed through room after room of glorious architecture and had paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough looking down on us as we sketched. So here’s a morning’s work of grand dining rooms, chandeliers and furniture, and a lovely warden called Margaret who happened to be sitting in front of me in one room.

After lunch we were treated to a private view of the Royal Drawings Collection. Arranged around a large table were old master drawings outside of glass and frames, we were able to take our time with them, drawing up stools and opening sketchbooks to draw directly from artists alive over five hundred years ago. We saw up close the delicate pen strokes of Dürer’s dog, the confident lines of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical observations including this stunning drawing of a baby in a womb, and Raphael’s dainty and soft red chalk Three Graces. I couldn’t help but see the happy variety of drawing styles of these long-dead artists, and in turn compare them with the variety of hands amongst my own peers, the students around me sketching from these drawings.

To finish, here are my own studies. Holbein’s drawing of Archbishop Warham, as I love his delicacy and ability to capture asymmetries in faces. A Canaletto, where I got caught up in his use of shadows. And one of Da Vinci’s studies of hands, inspiring as he gave far more attention and patience to his life drawing than I have yet been able to do myself. A big thank you to the castle for making us welcome, and  the curators of the drawings collection for happily fetching us any drawing we demanded.

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