Jaques-Louis David (1748 - 1825)
He was thought to be one of the most important painters of the French Neoclassical era. He was influenced with the Italian masters, particularly Raphael and he wanted to participate in the Classical revival that was occurring at the time. His work shows how he believed that simplicity of line was central to the classical ideal in drawing.
|David - The Oath of the Horatii (1784-85) 329 x 424cm|
Later he became involved with political events and was a supporter of the attack against Louis XVI and the French Revolution. His paintings became propaganda for this cause.
|David -Sketch for Oath of the Tennis Court (1789) 101x66cm|
|David - Death of Marat (1793) 165 x 128cm|
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres 1780 - 1867
Ingres was also a French Neoclassical painter and a staunch advocate of the classical style. He was very resistant to the emerging popularity of the romantic movement. He studied with David in Paris.
|Inges - Le Grande Odalisque 1814|
Degas met Ingres, whom he revered, and whose advice he never forgot: "Draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist."
He is most well known for his fascination with picturing movement and paintings of ballet dancers. He is also one of the first artist to use photography as a tool in his art. He is often called an impressionist painter but this is a label he rejected as he felt he did not work spontaneously and would criticise those artists working en plein air.
|The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse),1873–1876, oil on canvas,|
|La Toilette (Woman Combing Her Hair), c. 1884–1886, pastel on paper|
Looking at all of these artists and their drawings it is possible to see the importance of line for these artists through the very simplicity of the contours.
Degas is much looser than the others but his absolute importance of obtaining the accurate contours of the human figure is clear.
In order to show the difference I looked out a couple of drawings from other artists for which line was less important that form. Seurat was fascinated with tonal differences and his drawings contained few lines. Van Gogh was interested in texture and technique and Matisse's painting below shows his interest in tone and colour.
|Van Gogh - Portrait of Joseph Roulin|
|Andre Derain by Matisse 1905 oil 55x47cm|