Famous Drawings

Transcending Time and Style

‘Vitruvian Man’ by Leonardo da Vinci‘Vitruvian Man’ by Leonardo da Vinci

It's often said that one of the most famous drawings is Leonardo's ‘Vitruvian Man’ which is the image above.

Even people who claim to know nothing about art are familiar with this drawing; a perfect anatomy of a naked man set in a circle and showing the symmetry of the human body.

Leonardo was well-known for detailed anatomical studies and ‘Vitruvian Man’ is an excellent example. The drawing has explanatory text above and below which is written in da Vinci's signature mirror-writing.

He often wrote that way and over the years it has been suggested that he did this in order to keep his notes more private. The truth of the matter is probably less mysterious—da Vinci was left-handed and writing this way comes quite naturally to people who favor their left hand.

It’s interesting to note that Leonardo appreciated the relationship between art and science; epitomized in this iconic drawing. Probably some of the most popular famous drawings in the world of art are those by M.C. Escher. If you're not familiar with them, they primarily feature impossible objects.

One of the most famous of Escher's works features a drawing of two hands. Each is holding a pencil and they are drawing each other. Escher was well-known for these impossible drawings.

Another example you might know is that of staircases that would be impossible to build in reality. Viewing these drawings, which are very well executed with fine detail, gives one a sense of unreality since the objects appear at first to be realistic until the impossibilities are spotted.

But my personal favorite drawing is by a lesser-known artist from Wales, Augustus John. The drawing depicts a woman and is entitled 'Dorelia Wrapped in a Shawl'. She appears to be a gypsy.

John was an active artist during the early nineteenth century until his death in 1961. He had always been fascinated by the Romany way of life and had an unusual personal life himself. He married and had several children and also has a mistress, Dorelia. She too had children by John and the threesome—plus their children, traveled for some time in a gypsy caravan. Many of John's drawing depict his somewhat unconventional family and the gypsy way of life. This doesn't mean that he wasn't accepted by society however, and he became Britain’s foremost portrait painter.

He and his entourage moved to a grand house in Hampshire with extensive grounds. Even in his later years. Augustus John would always let gypsies camp on his lands where he would draw them as they went about their daily live's.

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