Figure Drawings

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Sketch by Michaelangelo Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Artists study the figure to learn how to represent it. They draw from life to learn the anatomy or to provide a basis for finished paintings or sculpture.

Since the invention of photography artists have also used photographs to provide visual information, to study movement and to inspire their art.

Michaelangelo used many life drawings to prepare for the monumental task of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This is one of the few surviving sketches from the project. He used this sketch of a man as the basis for the female Libyan Sibyl.

The Drawings of Michelangelo and his Followers in the Ashmolean Museum

Photograph by Edgar Degas Edgar Degas, Woman in Tub c.1886

In the 1880's Edgar Degas experimented with the new photographic medium to make reference materials for his drawings, paintings and sculpture. The pastel on the right shows the influence of the forshortening, unusual camera angles and spontaneity of the camera.

Degas : The Man and His Art (Discoveries) Degas' Drawings (Paperback) Carefully reproduced from a rare 1923 limited edition, most of these magnificent drawings are unavailable elsewhere in published form. Dancers, nudes, portraits, travel scenes, and more. 100 drawings, including 8 in full color.


Henri Matisse (1869-1954) Nu dans l'atelier (1898)
Henri Matisse. Male Model. 1900. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Arts, New York, NY, USA
Olga's Gallery - Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Matisse / Nude at the Mirror (1937)



Marthe Bonnard, model for the artist Pierre Bonnard


An out of print book of Pierre Bonnard's photographs.
Pierre Bonnard Photographe

Bonnard And the Nabis by Alberts Kostenevitch  


Here's a popular book on drawing the figure The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing by Anthony Ryder.

Renaissance Self-Portraiture
Renaissance Self-Portraiture: The Visual Construction of Identity and the Social Status of the Artist


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figure-drawings.com - How to Draw BooksLearn to Draw

The Art Student's Guide To The Proportions Of The Human Form


The Art Student's Guide to the Bones and Muscles of the Human Body: and Lessons on Foreshortening


Gerard Audran's The Proportions of the Human Body


The School of Raphael: The Student's Guide to Expression in Historical Painting


The Art Student's Guide to External Anatomy


The Human Head: A Correct Delineation of the Anatomy, Expressions, Features, Proportions and Positions of the Head and Face


How To Draw The Human Figure: The Drawings Of Grace Young


How to Draw People: Using Early Copy Books


Victorian Sketches: A Victorian Sketchbook by an Unknown Artist


Life Drawing - Croquis de Pierre Lissac


Figure Drawings in Color


How Harry Cook Learned to Draw


Traite de Perspective

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