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Observational sketches of Michelangelo's David

Following my recent idea and proposal to create a melting wooden version of Michelangelo's David, which was incited by my first encounter with Michelangelo's David in January 2014, I visited the original sculpture again at the Academia Gallery in Florence in order to get to know him better.

Making observational sketches enabled me a moment to familiarise myself with the forms and folds of David. During this sketching session, I learnt how intricate every detail Michelangelo made upon the surface of David's stone. It took me a few attempts to get the proportions right - I did not have my glasses (for long distance) with me, and my partner at the time will confirm how frustrated I got! Once I was able to draw in his proportions, the shadowing remained a difficulty in gauging the depth of the carved forms. Here, it is important to note the part the gallery lighting plays in bringing out the contrast of the shadows. Each layer of shadowing I added depicted the depth of the carved forms and folds of David's body.

By learning the depths, locations, forms and folds of David's body through sketching, my hands became familiar with them. Of course having more live sketching sessions with David would allow me to further extend this knowledge of his body, however, due to living in the UK, photographs of David will have to suffice. Ultimately, when I begin recreating David in melting wood, I am hoping that the knowledge gained from sketching his body will transform into a knowledge I can utilise within sculpting. I anticipate a similar difficulty in gauging the depth of his carved forms as when I drew in his shadows: when I attempt to carve out his forms from the wood and create his wooden shadows.

*This blog post has been back-dated for continuity purposes. Sketches were originally done in December 2014.

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