The Role of Drawing
Clearly, sculptors' developments and stylistic particularities showed through in their drawings. But rather than establishing precise connections between a certain statue and a certain drawing, this exhibition looks at similarities or differences in the role of drawing in relation to a source hitherto considered as indisputable (Antiquity), a genre (relief or statue) or a theme (dance).
Jean Antoine InjalbertStatue of a Nude Woman© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay)
Two preoccupations have always been considered as specific to sculptors: line and volume, contour and density, linearity and plasticity. These aspects, whether they really distinguish them from painters or not, are sometimes accorded different emphasis depending on the issues in question.
The Study of Antiquity
Studying the works of Antiquity was not just a question of copying ancient works. This practice was more appropriate for setting down the compositions, for drawing out the dominant principles and designs. In Figures drawn from Antiquity, Carpeaux sketches out a central group, focusing the action between two static figures and a pedestal. The line is rapid and broken, but the main parts are clearly laid out.
Edgar DegasLeft Profile of Two Horses© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
The layouts for medallions and cameos by Dubois and Guillaume are more in the style of notes made on their travels or for their own interest. On the other hand, the highly detailed studies by Degas and Legros, revealing extraordinary technical skill, appear more definitive. However different the approaches may be, the curves and outlines are always revealed in the drawing.