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Kelly Borsheim's Art of the Human Form - Charcoal Figure Drawing

[sight-size drawing of Medici banker Uzzano after Donatello Bargello original]

Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano (After Donatello)

64 x 46 cm (25" x 18")
charcoal with pastel / carboncino con pastelli
grey Roma-brand paper
© 2008
Kelly Borsheim


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[detail of charcoal + pastel drawing after Donatello sculpture Bargello]

"Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano" (After Donatello) - Sight-Size Portrait Art

Artist Kelly Borsheim created a charcoal and pastel Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano (After Donatello). The sight-size method of drawing was used (more about that below). This is her first drawing using white pastel on a grey paper (previous drawing were done with light paper using charcoal to darken tones).

[original portrait sculpture by Donatello in Bargello Museum, Florence, Italy]

"Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano" (After Donatello) - Sight-Size Portrait Art

Niccolò da Uzzano was a banker for the famous Medici family of Florence, Italy. The original portrait in terra-cotta by Donatello is exhibited in the Bargello Museum in Florence. Here (left) is an image of the original artwork. Looking at this image, one must wonder if the gesso (plaster cast) was made incorrectly -- the head appears to be bent back in a more expressive way in Donatello's sculpture.

This sculpture stands out in the fabulous collection of the Bargello Museum on Via Ghibellina and is one of Kelly's favorites.

The Sight-Size Drawing Process

[sight-size drawing method described]

"Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano" (After Donatello) - Sight-Size Portrait Art

Some of the basic concepts of the sight-size method of drawing are described on the page exhibiting Kelly's Écorché -- The Flaming Archer. In this first image, you can see that the larger and more significant shapes of light and dark have been determined and the one dark tone has been drawn onto the grey paper. More dark will be added, as well as some dark areas being lightened. But this is how it starts.

[sight-size drawing after Donatello sculpture Bargello]

In order to maximize the full tonal range possible in the media used, one must establish the darkest dark and the whitest white. Here whites are added with Rembrandt-brand pastel.

[setup for sight-size drawing method]

Although this setup may look simple, it takes a long time to secure the type of lighting desired. The gesso (plaster cast) is almost solid white. So there are quite a lot of possible lighting effects one can achieve.

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Most recent revision: 4 January 2010