The Bargue Drawing Course

Since the Renaissance, atelier training has begun with the copying of master drawings. At the Golden Gate Atelier, we use the drawing course Charles Bargue developed for J.L. Gèrome at the École des Beaux-Arts. Bargue’s program was taught throughout Europe in the late 19th century: Picasso did the Bargue course in Spain and Van Gogh, in Holland. However, after World War I the drawing course was all but forgotten. In 1982 Daniel Graves rediscovered Bargue’s lithographs in the basement of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Graves made the Bargue course a centerpiece of the drawing program at the Florence Academy of Art, and it is now used at classical ateliers throughout the world.

Charles Bargue was one of the greatest draftsmen of the 19th century. His course is based on the simplicity and grandeur of classical sculptures. Working from Bargue’s lithographs, the student absorbs the classic point of view as well as the best of 19th century accuracy. Bargue shows how to break down the complexity of nature and design accurate shapes to render form. The drawing course is therefore an excellent preparation for cast drawing.

Cast Drawing: The Classical Tradition »