The artist drawings, revises and refines their image. In drawing, the viewer can see the search and the method for developing an idea.
In Matisse’s drawing, the model and divan is moved up and to the left, drawn larger and adjusted horizontally
In Chia’s Man Seated at Table, it appears as if he created the drawing improvisational–adding, subtracting elements. Ghosts of other figures, chairs and pedestals haunt the drawing. The final image still seems to be influx.
Line quality–lightness or darkness, thickness or thinness, slowness or fastness-produces both object clarity and spatial nuances.
In 1880, Van Gogh was religious and politically engaged. Rather than resort to propaganda, Van Gogh, in Man with a spade resting, uses two types of line to subtly make his feelings known. The blunt, thickly drawn B pencil that chisels out the Man, spade and tool and tears the paper is contrasted with a sharpened, delicately drawn contour line in an H pencil that draws a cup and saucer set on the floor to the man’s right. One can help wonder why Van Gogh put the porcelain cup in this scene since the handle is too small to fit his finger and would break if kept in this environment.
When looking at a master, the viewer must consider both the use of the materials and the objects the objects has chosen to depict.
The Intimate and the Unversal
Morandi was a private artist working in a storage room off his mother’s kitchen. His subject was the bottles and vessels he meticulously arranged for his painting. His drawing reflects the care he took to compose the forms–each blocked into an area tightly packed, grid-like. His is an intimate and personal view and one we share looking at his still life study.
Mondrian was a public artist working to change the world. His is the universal–simplifying his work into universal elements. Primary colors, black and white and vertical and horizontal lines create his forms with crosses that define color. He, too, uses a compact and simple composition–essentially a grid format.
While the paintings are dissimilar, evoking is the viewer a deferent theme and intention, what strikes me is that without the seeing the drawings, the phony of their beginnings wouldn’t be obvious: that the most personal and the greatest universal link that that point. The personal can lead us to universal truths and that universal truths can lead to personal ones.