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4.6 out of 5 stars16
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(5 star).Show all reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 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
on September 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
on December 17, 2003
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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on 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 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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on January 5, 2000
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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on July 17, 1999
I found this book to be an exceptional and invaluable resource for the serious artist. Robert Hale has a keen sense of analyses that will bring to the conscience mind all of the subtle nuances that make the difference between pretty pictures and great art. The illustrations are poignant examples of stunning classic works from old masters. The text covers the basic essentials such as compostion, effective light, using tonal values, line, perspective and anatomy. Overall a rewarding investment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Drawing Lessons From the Great Masters is an art book that teaches by looking at the art fundamentals used by great art masters themselves -- Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rodin, Goya, Rembrandt, among others.

There are 100 master drawings analysed by Robert Beverly Hale on the fundamentals such as line, light and planes, mass, position and thrust, and anatomy. These are all figure drawings. Each illustration is printed full on one page with a certain section selected for analyzing on the next. The commentary is simple and concise, providing great insight to what these artists were thinking. Many of these pieces are really sketches but when you realised the thought put behind every stroke and what the artist was trying to show, you'll instantly be enlightened.

At the end of this book, even if you can't draw yet, you'll be able to identify the difference between a good and bad drawing. And when you draw, you'll remember the principles.

This is a really useful and inspirational reference book, great for beginner to advanced artists.

Robert Beverly Hale has also authored Anatomy Lessons From The Great Masters, which uses the same teaching style here but focusing on anatomy drawings.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on April 27, 2004
Robert Beverly Hale's "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters" certainly deserves 5 stars. It even comes at a 5-Star price; but I must point out that it is essentially a reference book of master drawings rather than a "how-to" book for those learning to draw. It is not, per se, an "instruction" book on "how-to-draw". With that proviso, I would not be without this reference, if I wanted to be informed of the great masters.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2004
As an artist that did not go to art school, I have constantly searched for instructional books only to be disappointed in finding stupid books written for people who are not serious about art and have no discipline. All of Hale's books, especially this one, are supremely intelligent and extremely insightful. after reading his book you'll gain insight to judge good drawing from a bad ones, a skill every serious artist should strive to have. Hale will help you see drawing in a new light and send you on your way to growth. Since he uses drawings by artists such as Raphael, Tintoreto, Rembrandt and Rubens, you'll be learning from the masters themselves, not from some mediocre artist. The only negative about the book, if it can be called a negative, is that after 100 drawings you want more. I learned more from this one book than through all the art books I have read before, and more than almost all the art classes I have taken, put together.
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on November 2, 2000
Mr. Hale's book has been invaluble in understanding figure drawing. He uses wonderful examples from the great masters. At times his commentary seems snobbish but if you can get past that then you will learn a great deal. I would highly recommend this book to anyone (novice to intermediate) interested in drawing the figure.
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