February 25, 2013

Titian's Pastoral Love on a Diet

I had made a quick sketch of Titian’s painting of a Shepherd and a Nymph because I liked the Shepherd playing the flute. That was probably why I drew him much better than the nymph. Another reason for the fascination with the Shepherd and my favoritism in rendering is because my husband plays the flute.

But what happened to the nymph? The original sketch was too smudged to figure out where I got off track but her head was too small and her posterior so large it could wipe out the state of Rhode Island if she sat on it. Challenging myself to finish this sketch and correct the anomalies without going back to the original source, I reduced the excessive portliness of the nymph and added a different head - one not nearly a delicate as Titian’s I’m afraid.

The background is reconfigured as well, with a highly textured and detailed stump in the composition that was only a vague ghost of a tree in the original painting. (Yes, I looked back at a reproduction just to see how much I remembered, how much I hadn’t, and how much still I added). My stump now looks more like it was extracted from a Chinese landscape rather than a sixteenth century oil painting. I attribute this to my Chinese art training years ago at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. But I like this stump, as well as the small line of trees and the imagined water. So the nymph was starved and the landscape was fed.

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