The Drawing Course, published in the late 1860’s, was developed by the great French painter Charles Bargue with the collaboration of fellow artist Jean-Leon Gerome. It is broken up into three parts. In the first part the art students copies lithographs of cast sculptures made by Bargue (These lithographs are affectionately referred to as simply “Bargues”). The lithographs begin as fairly simple copies of hands and feet and slowly increase in difficulty as the student progresses through the course. In the second part the art student spends his/her time copying the works of master artists. Sir Joshua Reynolds also identifies this as the second stage of an art students education in his Discourse I as recorded in the book Discourses on Art edited by Robert R. Wark. These first two parts of the Drawing Course are designed to train the eye to see the natural world in such a way that will allow the student to effectively and adequately reproduce the human form, which is the dominate focus of the third part. The art student spends the last part of the Drawing Course do line drawings from the male human form.
The Florence Academy of Art uses the basic principles of this proven drawing course in its three-year Drawing/Painting program but has adapted it by implementing additional systematic principles mastered through the passing of time. The main difference being that the art student begins work from the live model from the begin of his/her education. During one studio block the art student spends his/her time learning and studying specific drawing principles by copying a Bargue or through other exercises. In the second studio block the art student implements the principles by drawing from the live model. The combination of individual study and live implementation greatly increases the speed at which the art student masters the art of drawing.
Enjoy the Journey!