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

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Antoine (Tony) Johannot (1803-1882) Original Drawings

I have a confession to make. I am a sucker for energetic line in a nude drawing, denoting to my eye, a technically proficient, highly trained artistic hand. Call me romantic, call me sappy, call me a cab. I love a sensual, romantic line in a drawing, especially when that sensuality is applied to the nude. When I see an energetic example of 19th century academic training, I will post it for your enjoyment. Currently on a French Auction site there is a listing for several drawings by Tony Johannot (1803-1882) that meet my criteria for beautiful drawings. Johannot was a French engraver, illustrator, and painter from the early to mid-19th century. He was a painter who was involved in the development of lithography in France. His two older brothers were also trained engravers and Tony learned engraving from his brothers and helped his brother Alfred produce illustrations to books by James Fenimore Cooper and Walter Scott. His historical paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon for the first time in 1831. He became an illustrator and his works were much sought after for their elegance, diversity, and the lively character of his drawing skills. He was once called "The King of Illustration." He became France's foremost illustrator of the 1840's. He received exposition medals in both 1831 and 1848. He illustrated more than one hundred books, including works by Cervantes, Moliere, and Goethe. Enjoy.

The drawing below is so very interesting in its execution. When I was studying at University, one class I took explored the concept of introducing points of tension in the composition and points where that tension is released, or if you can imagine, creating places within the composition that acted as if they were joined by a twisted rubber band. As I look at this drawing I can see many examples of how the artist has treated the overall composition in terms of tension and how that treatment produces movement in this beautiful figure study. There are numerous places where shapes protrude into adjacent spaces, producing points of tension and other places where lines move away from each other and tension is released. Take a look at that figure of a child as he leans over the knee of the female who is reading (The name of the drawing is "The Lecture"). The curve of the child's hips and buttocks echoes the curve of the leg and knee on which he leans. The furthermost impingement of the knee towards the outer edge of the leg of the child forms a nice area of tension when that line almost meets the line of the child's hips, almost in the shape of an hour glass. Then look directly opposite that point and see how the tension is released in the figure standing looking over the shoulder of the female figure as lines diverge. That action takes place in almost a straight line from each other. This is really an interesting study of controlling the movement of beautiful, energetic line. The figures just vibrate with movement although they are obviously static.

Caption: Drawing Series
Artist: Antonie (Tony) Johannot (1803-1852)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Dated: circa early 19th century

Here are a few more examples of Tony Johannot's prolific works:

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