30 June 2015

Drawing Tuesday - Bode Museum

Where better to be on a rainy miserable day than in a museum? For five hours I drew and drew "old things" - made between the 2nd and 14th century.

First to the "early Italian" room, lured by the orange dress against the blue walls -
This little statue, possibly St Luke, appealed to me -
Two blind drawings, the longer pose, then back to the scribble-page for adding a different view -
Into the Byzantine rooms, attracted by these columns -
which would require craning of neck to draw, so I moved to something at sitting-down level -
 A chancel screen carved of marble in Constantinople in the 12th century -
I loved the animals and the vines, and it turns out, from the guidebook, that the animal motifs represent death (the bird of prey landing on the back of the deer, the foxes after the hen) and the vegetation represents the tree of life - so it was appropriate to have a "secular" piece like this in a church.

And I loved drawing these, using "any old felt-tip pen", starting with the side with the deer - by the end of two hours, the fox on the left rather got away from me, but I'm glad he did. Filling in the border got a bit tedious - there's a schema, but there were variations, and at one point there seemed to be an entirely different stonecutter imposing his own ideas -
This bit of carved marble, with its interlacings and motifs, proved surprisingly hard to get to grips with -
The dogs, with their huge tails and tongue, caught my attention, first for a line drawing in pen and then for something "more careful" with a pencil - 
and pencil again, without too much erasing, for the entire thing, kept under control by starting with the grid of small deep circles -
I'm trying to be patient, be a bit careful, and to persevere. 

In another room of earlier works, this "tomb relief with prayers and a boat" from Egypt, 2nd or 3rd century -
Pencil again, looking at tone. After lightly sketching the main shapes I started at the left and worked across -
At this point (four hours had passed) I was starting to see both shapes and tones more clearly, and was utterly losing track of real time, even though I noted the time when I finished each drawing. The boat and prayers took 40 minutes.

Back to pen for this "fragment of tombstone with eagle and aedicula", Egypt, 7th-8th century -
 It took 20 minutes (I thought the museum would be closing imminently) - but no, it stays open till 6. I was ready to stop, though, and quickly added a bronze votive altar, about 6" high, from 3rd-4th century Egypt, and a silver spoon from the Memphis Treasure (6th-7th century) -
 and a quick look at some Coptic textiles in a drawer -

and home in the rain.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Love your sketches of so many things! Nice work and thank you for sharing.