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Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters: 45th Anniversary Edition [Paperback]

Robert Beverly Hale , Jacob Collins
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1989
A book whose sales have not diminished but rather increased dramatically since its publication 45 years ago, this bestselling classic is the ultimate manual of drawing taught by the late Robert Beverly Hale, who’s famed lectures and classes at New York City’s Art Student League captivated artists and art educators from around the world.

Faithfully producing and methodically analyzing 100 master drawings—including works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rodin, Goya, and Rembrandt among others—Hale shows how these artists tackled basic problems such as line, light and planes, mass, position and thrust, and anatomy. With detailed analytical captions and diagrams, every lesson is clearly delineated and illustrated. Throughout, also, is commentary that sheds light on the creative process of drawing and offers deep insight into the unsurpassed achievements of the masters.

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Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters: 45th Anniversary Edition + Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
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About the Author

ROBERT BEVERLY HALE was the Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a world-renowned teacher at New York Student’s Art League for 40 years, and Adjunct Professor of Drawing and Lecturer on Anatomy at Columbia University. He also co-authored Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
DRAWING, LIKE SO MANY other skills, is a matter of being able to think of several things at once. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary book for advancement May 22 2004
This may not be the very best "first" book of drawing instruction, but it ranks among the books that any figure-drawing student must eventually study. When some satisfactory skill is achieved, read Hale. Hale is definitely not for the "drawing on the right side of my ambition" crowd.
Hale's credentials speak for themselves, and his work places him far beyond the herd of drawing authors that rely upon gimmicks such as catch-phrases such as YOGA, or ZEN, RIGHT-BRAIN, or INNER THIS or INNER THAT, in the title to push bland intruction to increase sales. Rather, Hale's work is striking because it reflects the singular focus of an artist who can teach figure drawing without mis-directing the student with irrelevancies.
Hale is also humble, in that he directs the student to genuine Masters of drawing: Durer, Rembrandt, Cambiaso, Rubens, Bruegel, da Vinci, Degas, and Carracci, rather than filling a book with his own drawings. He writes, on page 33:
"BY SIMPLY DRAWING A CUBE, you can understand some of the significance of line in creating the illusion of reality."
That is so refreshing because it stands in diametrical opposition to the DRAW-WHAT-YOU-FEEL genre of instruction which has become the fashion of the day. FIVE STARS is deserved.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best drawing book available. Sept. 28 2003
I can't say enough good things about this book. Robert Beverly Hale was considered one of the past century's greatest instructors of drawing and artistic anatomy. This book shows why he is held in such high regard. It provides numerous examples of old master drawings with Hale's penetrating insights regarding why the drawings are great. A master teacher discussing master drawings - it doesn't get any better than that!
Remember, the old masters themselves used to copy master drawings when they were students learning how to draw. Follow their example. This book also has a wonderful section on artistic anatomy. Anatomy is very important, and can't be stressed enough. It provides the foundation of all good figurative art, whether it be drawing, painting, or sculpture. This book, besides discussing and analyzing master drawings and what makes them great, also provides the best introduction to artistic anatomy that I've seen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is an extroardinary study of the anatomical knowledge and ideas implemented by the greatest (anatomically informed)figure drawers artists of all time. It is quite inticing and the author is obviously intelligent enough to handle the analyzations of the pictures supplied, but the tips and exercises involved would be fit for somebody who views drawing as more than a hobby (for in that case one might be discouraged by the incredible extent of the anatomical knowledge of the "Great Masters").
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Know your anatomy Jan. 21 2000
By A Customer
This book is very funny. The authors message is that you must know anatomy to draw figures and the old masters knew more than we do today. Interesting viewpoint but he fails to fully convince this reader that anatomy is the most important thing to drawing well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars michelangelo ,leonardo beware! July 12 2000
this is a wonderful must buy book by robert beverly hale , renowned art teacher,his understanding of the works of the great masters is truly astounding. what you can get from this book? all artists who wish to become masters of drawing the human figure can find a system to grade yourself for your entire lifetime compared to the great masters.that means you will never be easily satisfied by your own work, and you have the luxury of studying from a vast collection of drawings from almost all the well- known figure artists of the last six hundred years.each artist has his own strength and weakness . hale has very intelligently pointed out the strengths but misses out on the weaknesses thats where you got to have many more books on anatomy and drawing to cross refer and also finally you have to try identifying these strenghts and putting them down in your style while doing life drawing or imaginary drawing. you have to understand that we are at an advantage compared to all the artists featured in this book(even though hale would like you to beleive otherwise) because of the vast resources available to us in the form of great master works and anatomy books ,medical and artistic.buy this book and chart the path to great figure drawing. finally i beleive that its possible to acheive unparalled success at figure drawing through regular training in a systematic manner.anyone with any questions can email me .im an animator and an advanced student of figure drawing.
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This wonderful book by R.B.Hale is one of the most profound works ever written concerning not just classical life drawing but also the principles underpinning all good drawing. I am a working artist,illustrator and drawing teacher who studied at one of the few really good traditional art schools in the world (we did nothing else but draw and paint the figure, the plaster cast and still lives), and this book was recommended as a worthy text. At first I ignored it because of one silly remark old Robert Beverley makes on the first page where he states that he supposed that there is no one living today who could draw as well as the worst artist included in his book. I felt that this was absolute codswallop, and still do, but once I gave him a chance to speak he completely changed my understanding!
Many people feel that if you can copy something exactly as you see it then you are an accomplished artist. This might be true in this era where drawing is hardly the number one subject in school. The beauty of Hales book is that he expounds the subtle and brilliant secrets of masters of the past, most of whom came from a time pre-camera, when drawing and consequently painting was a true science, a deep and profound study of 3D form, underlying anatomy, exquisite subtleties of tonal light CREATED IN THE ARTISTS HEAD and not neccessarily what was seen ( real light moves constantly anyway!)
So, if you are a dedicated and passionate art student or artist who is prepared to humble yourself and really learn to draw, then this book and indeed all of R.B.Hales books including his 'Artistic Anatomy' with Paul Richer is for you. Please feel free to write to me with any questions regarding classical drawing.
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