Primarily a representationalist my style is leaning more into the Classical Atelier technique. So I’ve been immersing in Italian and French Renaissance drawings and I stumbled across a marvelous Italian word ‘disegno’. Of course not speaking the language I don’t have the internal grasp of the word, but my take is it means both the drawing and the thought behind the drawing. Derived from the Latin “de” ‘from’ or ‘of’ and “signo” ‘sign’ or ‘to mark, stamp’ literally to mark from or a mark of, as the mark of the artists creation.

The artist as the creator of the work, especially in reference to 16th and 17th century painting. A ‘disegno’ adherent will have trained exhaustively in classic technique; drawing casts, drawing from life, and study of the Greek and Roman antiquities. With this experience and facility the artist now can form the most involved and complex compositions. He will then execute the piece, not from the model but from his own imagination.

Giorgio Vasari (1511 – 74) writing in 1550 “… from this knowledge arises a certain conception and judgment, so that there is formed in the mind that something which afterward, when expressed by the hands, is called disegno, we may conclude that disegno is not other than a visible expression and declaration of our inner conception and of that which others have imagined and given form to in their idea.”

All that the artist thinks and conceives thus becomes the piece, as if materializing out of thin air, and all it required was years of applied study and many hours of practice.


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