Those far off days

Posted by Robert Shure on

When the prolific American portrait painter George P. A. Healy talked about taking a journey to France in 1834 he said, as quoted in The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough:

“In those far-off days there were no art schools in America, no drawing classes, no collections of fine plaster casts and very few picture exhibitions.” 

It was before the time of the Caproni Collection in Boston, so Healy’s best choice to learn was to travel abroad and view fine works of art. Now we at the Gallery talk to artists, teachers and art lovers (everywhere in the world from Nebraska to Japan!) who are able to access close copies of masterpieces for both study and inspiration thanks to Caproni.

In the spirit of the start of a new school year we thought we’d offer some resources we’ve found for artist study.


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  • Learning to Draw:  Check out this blog post on observational drawing using the sight-size method by Ben Rathbone. He used our Ben Franklin cast for the demo.
  • A Community of Artists:  You also might like this page by Peter Pletl on Facebook about Casts for Study. Peter has built an online community for people who are learning to draw.
  • Sculpting from Casts:  If you’re looking to get your hands in the clay, take a look at these classic books that teach traditional sculpture using casts for study. Our three favorites are by Edouard Lanteri, Brenda Putnam, and Albert Toft.

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