I went again to the wonderful Talk and Draw session at the National Gallery, London. We sat, all 40 of us, in front of Uccello’s Battle of San Romano and were invited to draw it with pencils, twice, the first time to just look at the painting itself and not the paper, and draw the main lines; then to look at the main shapes and get those down without trying to be too figurative. I enjoyed this session and it is good eye to hand practice.
Alot of people there did not get the idea of moving around the painting and allowing yourself the freedom to draw what you see rather than what you think you should be drawing. You have to let go in this kind of exercise.
From the National Gallery: This brilliantly structured and colourful painting depicts part of the battle of San Romano that was fought between Florence and Siena in 1432. The central figure is Niccolò da Mauruzi da Tolentino on his white charger, the leader of the victorious Florentine forces, who is identifiable by the motif of ‘Knot of Solomon’ on his banner.
This panel is one of a set of three showing incidents from the same battle. The other two are in the Louvre, Paris, and the Uffizi, Florence. This painting and its two companion panels were commissioned by the Bartolini Salimbeni family in Florence sometime between 1435 and 1460: only the Uffizi panel is signed. Lorenzo de’ Medici so coveted them that he had them forcibly removed to the Medici palace.
The pictures may originally have had arched tops designed to fit below Gothic vaults. They were made into rectangular panels in the 15th century, possibly by Uccello himself. Uccello was much preoccupied with one point linear perspective, seen here in the foreshortening of shapes and arrangement of broken lances.What an amazing painting, one of my friends did a copy of this and got into a degree course on the strength of his copy.
In two week’s time we are drawing a Corot painting of trees in a landscape – more on this later…..