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Charles Bargue - Drawing Course

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Bargue Drawing Course

The Bottom Line

This unique volume is essential reading for any serious student of academic drawing and painting. Gerald Ackerman offers invaluable insights into understanding and modeling the human form; he also explores the taste and philosophies that inform classical realist art. The color plates are gorgeous, with superb reproductions allowing you to learn through observing and copying the images, applying the concepts in the text.


  • A unique, throrough and beautiful presentation of Bargue's drawing course
  • First-class reproductions clearly demonstrate the principles
  • Detailed commentary from Charles Ackerman


  • separation of plates and text makes for awkward navigation at times
  • opening the book flat for copying is hard on the spine - a folder of plates would be nice
  • expensive (but worth it)


  • Cast Drawing - 70 plates of line drawings and shaded value drawings from antique sculptures.
  • Technical notes include using a plumb-line, key points of reference, shading and modeling.
  • Plates of Old Master lithographs, 19 of which full page, with notes on selecting and copying works.
  • Plates of 'Acadamies' - drawings of classical poses - with notes.
  • Chapter on Bargue's life and work, with color reproductions of drawing and paintings.
  • Detailed notes on sight-size drawing and cast drawing techniques.

Guide Review - Charles Bargue - Drawing Course

This book is a mix of art instruction and history, presenting Charles Bargue's complete drawing course, annotating it with technical information for the student, and explaining the tastes and philosophies of its time.

The Bargue - Gerome course aims to teach the drawing skills of classical realism, accurate, sculptural, beautiful without being decorative. Ackerman's notes are practical and specific, noting such points as how a particular form has been observed and simplified, and discussing the handling of particular poses.

The Drawing Course isn't, as its name might imply, a set of sequential lessons, but a provision of resources and information. Some readers may find it difficult for this reason. The organization needed for a book with full-page illustrations - such as the separation of plates and text - can make navigation of the book awkward initially, and some fundamental information - such as the method of cast drawing and sight size drawing - is at the back of the book. This should not put off the serious student. Be aware that, if using this text for self-instruction, you'll need to be confident enough to gather information and apply it to your own drawing practice. This caution aside, the thorough notes in this text are written in a highly readable and informative style, offering invaluable insights into academic drawing technique. <br> Available from the <a href="http://www.daheshmuseum.org/shop/index.html#ex">Dahesh Museum Shop</a>.

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