Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rogier van der Weyden

Portrait of a Lady - c. 1460
Rogier van der Weyden

There is something very appealing to me about exploring paintings or drawings from the past. I love looking into the historic background, the clothing and the lifestyles of the period. I like examining how the artist created what he or she saw or imagined and I especially like the portraits.

I treated myself to a calendar around Christmas time that is produced by the National Gallery of Art and consists of a page a day of different art works. Today's image is Portrait of a Lady by Rogier van der Weyden, painted in 1460.

I sat here tonight doing a line drawing of this image , trying to recreate the peaceful (or was it bored) expression on the woman's face and the delicate folds of the gauze head dress. I love how van der Weyden paints the hands in all his portraits in such detail. But in this particular portrait I think the hands are out of porportion and look far too small. But it doesn't detract from the overall image.

I've made her features too delicate in my sketch. The face needs to be strengthened and made broader perhaps. I'll be exploring more of van der Weyden's portraits and see how they translate into drawings and I may even tackle one as a painting.


Jennifer Rose said...

lol she does look bored, but than again sitting for hours is pretty boring :p

I love how the headdress is very transparent. I don't notice the hands, my eyes are drawn to the headdress for some reason. I had never heard of this painter before, but I really like what I see from him now :)

Maybe the forehead is little too high? The face does look a little too narrow. Honestly the line art looks really good :) Maybe if you do colour it, the face would look more full? (I don't generally draw portraits so I could be talking nonsense :p)

Laurel Neustadter said...

This painting is very striking. The hands do look too small, although I probably wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out. I notice the black dress blends into the black background ... a nice compositional technique. Have fun drawing the painting!

Jeanette said...

Yes the head dress is fascinating I think. Can you imagine having to put that on all the time?

I'm not sure where I went wrong on this, but I'll try it again. I was sitting at the dining room table sketching this last night and its about 10 minutes worth so I didn't do any measurements. You don't need to be off much to lose a likeness.

Van der Weyden does quite accomplished paintings and I doubt I would have heard of him unless I'd had this daily calendar. His skin tones and compositional techniques are wonderful.

Jennifer Rose said...

I can't imagine putting that headdress on everyday. I have a hard enough time braiding my hair, let alone trying to secure something like that to my head lol

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Jeanette - can I suggest that you redo this as a self-portrait.

I've always thought you had a really 'classic' face but couldn't think what it kept reminding me of. Now I know - it's that look of very calm contemplation that he always gets - it's you to a 't'!

Jeanette said...

Katherine, what a novel thought - a self portrait a la 1460! Wouldn't this be a fun challenge? To place yourself in a painting from the past...yes it has potential.

The calm contemplative look wasn't there this morning while chasing a fox who was trying to attack poor old Tripod. Ah yes, another story there...

Billie Crain said...

i think Katherine's idea is fantastic! i do hope you'll give it a try. maybe i'll put myself in Mona Lisa's place. i can do that little smirk of her's.

i have to assume you rescued Tripod from the fox. otherwise i'm sure your post would be much different today. i'd love to hear the story. we had a young possum spend the night in the house last summer. i should've posted about that on my blog when it happened.

Brian said...

Van der Weyden is one of my favourite artists, and I live in complete awe of his work. I stumbled upon this blog page while searching for works by him!

It is a nice line drawing. Personally I find line drawings difficult because I struggle to estimate the proportions and angles until I have some detail in the picture. But I have tried my hand at copying some of Van der Weyden's work myself, which you can see here if you like:


Easier said than done!