The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bernard-Romain Julien (1802-1871)- Male Nude, 1833- Cours de Dessin Crayon Manner Etching

I must make a slight correction in this post after doing some research on the french artist Bernard-Romain Julien (1802 - 1871). I will leave the description of crayon manner print stand below, yet I now believe that the below listed print is indeed a lithograph and not a crayon manner print as I originally listed since my research shows that Julien preferred lithography in producing prints for his drawing course..... so I will reclassify this print as a lithograph.
Discussion of the crayon manner or chalk manner print:
I discovered this process after some research I did when another red chalk manner print arrived into my collection last month. I have posted a copy of that print above, along with several other examples of the process. Chalk manner prints were made in as many as three colors: black, red, and white. I have also seen these types of etchings referred to as "crayon manner" prints in several intaglio reference sources.
The crayon manner or chalk manner etching is basically an intaglio engraving done on metal whose goal it is to imitate chalk and crayon drawings, hence those terms used to designate the process. The process was first used in 1735 by Pond and Knapton in England and soon after by Jean-Charles Francois in France. The results obtained by Francois were weak in comparison to the exquisite prints produced from the improvements made to the process by the engraver Gilles Demarteau (1722-1776). Demarteau was born in Leige, France in 1722. After becoming a member of the Academy of Paris in 1769, he was appointed by King Louis XV to the position of Court Engraver. Demarteau is considered by scholars to have been one of the most important engravers of his period. Jean-Charles Francois first presented his results to the Royal Academy of Painting, whose members complimented him for finding a technique for "perpetuating the drawings of the masters and multiplying examples of the most beautiful ways of drawing". One should remember that engraving was the only reproductive technique available in the 18th century and the prints produced from the process were enjoying an immense popularity at the time. In fact the process was used to make facsimile copies of drawings by Fragonard, Watteau, and Boucher. In fact, Boucher actually drew some one thousand drawings which were expressly done to be engraved by Demarteau. Subsequently, Louis-Marin Bonnet had the idea of increasing the number of plates so as to be able to reproduce three color drawings (black, red chalk, and white chalk).
Crayon manner prints enjoyed great success in all of Europe up until the invention of lithography, which stole from it most of its exclusive effects since lithography allowed the artist to place his idea directly upon the stone for printing. The first engravers using crayon or chalk manner techniques worked with a tool having three points in order to obtain a crayon or chalk effect. The three points of the tool were not of the same length so that the lines would not be clear cut. Hatching and cross-hatching was then done with roulettes, little rollers with unequally distributed teeth which mounted like spurs onto a wooden handle. Finally, in order to mat the copper plate, a kind of punch called a mace-head or mattoir was used. Its end was made of little teeth which penetrated the plate to be matted. The copper plate was covered with a ground which was worked with the above mentioned tools and then the plate was etched in the same way as any other etched plate. The result was that the plate became covered with dotted lines. When printed, the lines are somewhat blurred as in crayon drawing and can be more or less fine depending on the roulette used.
There is a second way of doing crayon manner work which was imported from England to France at the end of the 18th century. Gainesborough worked with this method around 1760 as well as several other English artists. The soft ground manner practiced in England was taken up by Decamps in France and by Felician Rops in Belgium. Soft ground crayon manner etching is done by scouring the plate then covering it with a soft ground. There are various receipts for the ground available to the artist today. When the soft ground is dry, a piece of light paper is placed on the plate and the artist proceeds to draw on it with a relatively hard lead pencil. Each stroke of the pencil will cause the soft ground to be transferred to the paper and leave the copper plate exposed beneath. By changing the pressure on the paper and the thickness of the paper, a variety of effects can be achieved.

Caption: Sitting Male Nude
Artist: Bernard-Romain Julien (1802-1871)
Medium: Lithograph on paper, part of Julien's Cours de Dessin (Drawing Course)
Dated: 1833

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