The Three Allegories of Beauty, graphite and charcoal
Drawing II Spring 2010
For the our final in Drawing II, each student had to create some giant project that related to the human figure. Their were 3 general themes to choose from: the human body as a machine, the human body relating to a grander concept, or using parts of the body to create the drawing final. For my project I created “The Three Allegories of Beauty.”
For reference, I took photos of my friends Courtney and Erin, and I modeled for the 3rd allegory. I sketched out the infrastructure of each piece with graphite. I enhanced the shadows of the compositions with charcoal. The modeling in the drawings consists of blended graphite and charcoal, as well as stippling and crosshatching to create different texture throughout the composition. These were all drawn on 3 sheets of white 22×30 drawing paper.
There are a number of artists, traditional and contemporary, that have influenced the artistic decisions I made with this project. Throughout history, in the middle-ages especially, people used allegories as a solution to visually represent abstract concepts. I decided to use allegories because they are traditionally female figures, and this works perfectly as the project is about female body-issues. Another artist that inspired me during this project (and in general) is Caravaggio. I am inspired by Caravaggio’s intense use of subject matter, but also his use of tenebrism. The last artist that inspires me (in general as well as in context of this project) is Kiki Smith. Kiki Smith is a sculptor whose work is all about the human figure. She works in themes of women’s issues and makes several references to mythology and folklore to further contextualize her sculptures.
Because this piece had so many medieval elements, I wanted to make it a traditional triptych. Because I felt like these figures were on display, almost like a freak-show, I gave them a more Victorian appearance and the typography followed suit.
Maid, the melancholy Woman-Child. This allegory is my favorite aesthetically as well as conceptually, as it disturbs me the most. Courtney was so perfect for this.
Matrona, the proverbial Xanax Soccer-Mom. It was hard to make Erin looked fucked up at all, as she is so beautiful.
Matriarch, the discarded Hag. Our biology tells us that women are no longer needed when they are no longer fertile.
I actually modeled for this one. I drew a bunch of lines on my face, and I looked like Yoda when I was done. Yoda in a severe corset.