Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Albrecht Durer: Drawing Devices

“There is yet another method of copying an object and of rendering it larger or smaller according to one’s wish, and it is more practical than using a glass pane because it is less restricted. In this method one uses a frame with a grid of strong black thread. The spaces or quadrangles should be about two fingers wide. For scanning one must prepare a pointer whoe height should be adjustable to be at eye level, which is marked o. The place the object to be drawn a good distance away. Move it or bend it as you like, and view it from level o to ascertain that it is in the proper position, so as to please you. Then place the grid or frame between the object and the pointer. If you prefer to use fewer spaces of the grid, move it closer to the object. Check how many spaces of the grid will be utilized to accommodate the width and height of the object and then draw a grid, larger or small on a sheet of paper or a panel on which you wish to draw. Now begin to scan the object with your eye – point o- placed above the pointer, and where it points on the grid in the frame, mark it off on the grid on your sheet of paper. It will be good, and it will be correct. But if you prefer to drill a small hole into your scanner, it will serve the same purpose equally well. I have drawn this method below.”

The editor of the book goes on to note, “The invention of the grid method [velo, some times called graticola] was claimed by Alberti in his De pictora. Leonardo da Vinci describes both this and the glass pane method in a manuscript among his literary remains (Panofsky 1915, p. 41)”

First Perspective Apparatus
“Now draw whatever you wish to paint on the pane of glass. This is very suitable for portraiture-especially for those [painters] who are not sure of themselves. If you wish to use this method to paint a portrait, let the subject rest his head so that he will not move it until all the needful strokes are completed. ”

Second Perspective Apparatus
“If you are in a large chamber, hammer a large needle with a wide eye into the wall. It will denote the near point of sight. Then thread it with a strong thread, weighted with a piece of lead. Now place a table as far from teh needle as you wish and place a vertical frame on it, parallel to the wall to which the needle is attached, but as high or low as you wish, and on whatever side you wish. This frame should have a door hinged to it which will served as your tablet for painting. Now nail two threads to the top and middle of the frame. These should be as long, respectively, as the frame’s width and length, and they should be left hanging. Next preparative a long iron pointer with a needle’s eye at its other end, and attach it to the long thread which leads through the needle that is attached to the wall. Hand this pointer to another person, while you attend to the threads which are attached to the frame. Now proceed as follows. Place a lute or another object to your liking as far from the frame as you wish, but so that it will not move while you are using it. Have your assistant then move the pointer from point to point on the lute, and as often as he rests in one place ans stretches the long thread, move the two threads attached to the frame crosswise and in straight lines to confine the long thread. Then stick their ends with wax to the frame, and ask your assistant to relax the tension of the long thread. Next close the door of the frame and mark the spot where the threads cross the tablet. After this, open the door again and continue”

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