Cast Drawing: The Classical Tradition

Casts are ideal for drawing training because they are white and completely still. This enables the student to concentrate on shapes and values. Everything learned in cast work translates directly into to drawing the figure and the portraiture from life. Cast drawing teaches the language of the classical tradition. At the Golden Gate Atelier we use only the work of acknowledged masters — Donatello, Michelangelo, Bernini, Houdon, Carpeaux– and ancient Greek sculptures such as the Belvedere Torso. The master sculptor whose work the student is copying has interpreted nature with great clarity and beauty.

Through cast drawing, students will hopefully absorb some of this skill and develop their own sense of beauty. This was the view of the great Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. In 1665 he made a visit to Paris. His speech to the French Academy was described by one of the students:  “Standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by all the members of the Academy, he said that in his opinion the Academy should possess plaster casts of all the finest antique statues and busts . . . for the instruction of the students, so that they could learn to draw . . . and from the outset familiarize their minds with beauty, which would be of service to them throughout their lives.”

 Figure Drawing: Drawing the Nude Figure »