Thursday, March 08, 2007

Model (art)

Art modeling involves the posing of a model as an aid in creating a work of art. Models are frequently used for training art students, but are also employed by accomplished artists. The most common types of art created using models are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography. Although commercial motives dominate over the esthetics in advertising, its 'artwork' commonly employs models.

Throughout the history of Western Art, drawing the human figure from living models was considered the most useful tool in developing the skill of draftsmanship. In the art school classroom setting, the purpose is to learn how to draw humans of all different shapes, ages and ethnicities, so there are no real limitations on who the model can be. In some cases, the model may pose with various props, (an)other model(s), animal(s) etc., against real or artificial background, in natural or artificial light and so on.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


While posing, the model is expected to remain motionless, like a mannequin, except for 'moving poses'. An experienced model will not speak, wriggle, scratch, or readjust during the pose, unless confronted by an artist or instructor who doesn't believe in complete stillness and silence in poses. To accommodate the physical limitations of the model, the model and instructor or artist may agree a schedule such as 25 minutes on, 10 minutes off to relax the muscles. The model's level of experience and skill may be taken into account in determining the length of the posing session and the difficulty of the poses.

Typical reclining pose
painting by
Frans KoppelaarPoses generally fall into three categories: standing, seated and reclining. Within each of these there are varying levels of difficulty, so one kind is not always easier than another. Artists and life drawing instructors will often prefer poses in which the body is being exerted, for a more dynamic and aesthetically interesting subject. Common poses such as standing twists, slouched seated poses and especially the classical contrapposto are difficult to sustain accurately for any amount of time, although it is often surprising what a skilled professional model can do.

Poses can range in length from several seconds to many hours. Short dynamic poses may be used for gesture drawing exercises, with the model striking a pose - which can include strenuous or precarious positions that could not be sustained for a longer pose - just long enough for the artist to quickly capture the essence of it. Active, gestural, or challenging standing poses are often scheduled at the beginning of a session when the models' energy level is highest. Short exercises in drawing classes typically run from 5 to 25 minutes. For extended poses in which the model will take one or more breaks, chalk marks and/or masking tape are often used to help the model resume the same pose. These breaks - during which the model usually wears a robe or puts on clothing - allow the model to stretch, relax and attend to other needs.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Nude models

Models for life drawing classes are often entirely nude, apart from inconspicuous personal items such as small jewelry. In a job advertisement seeking nude models, this may sometimes be referred to as being "undraped". In Western countries, there is generally no prohibition on the sexes posing nude for or drawing members of the opposite sex, although this was not always the case in the past.

In 1886 Thomas Eakins was famously dismissed from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for removing the loincloth from a male model in a mixed classroom. Similarly, Victorian modesty required the female model to pose nude with her face draped. European arts academies did not allow women to study the nude at all until the end of the nineteenth century. Up into the present day some rare art classes prefer male models to wear a jockstrap.

During art school classes or an academic setting, it is commonly prohibited for anyone (including the instructor) to touch or interfere with the model. Very close examination or requests for adjustment are typical—with the permission of the model. A few institutions allow only the instructor to speak directly with the model.

Additionally, nude models are sometimes paid to model as part of a performance or work of art; a fine example is the work of Vanessa Beecroft. Nude modeling can also occur in a private setting as demonstrated in the films As Good as it Gets and Titanic. Finally, a person can be their own model, while solo, with or without mirrors.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Clothed models

The clothed or costumed model is as much in demand as the nude, especially in commercial art. Nineteenth century models who applied for work at painters' studios were expected to wear and look appropriate in period dress or character costume, and sometimes supply the garments themselves. Today, many art and design schools still train their students to sketch the dressed figure, and often pay more for costume models, who maintain their own wardrobes, than for nude models. sexy

Thursday, November 16, 2006

BNG Life Casting

Once the plaster has set, you can choose to leave your casting with the same natural finish it acquired from your face. This can produce striking shadows and dramatic effects. Use a strong light from a shallow angle to produce stark shadows and highlight edges and texture. Light from a more natural angle, or diffuse light give fewer shadows and a more realistic look.
Natural-finish pieces tend not to look a lot like the model to a human eye. Unarguably, the features and details are exactly identical, but when the human visual system loses all cues of color and translucency, the other-ness reduces our ability to recognize the face, and leaves us staring at the art. This effect can be reduced by smoothing out the finer details of skin texture. The picture on the left is just as it left the mold. On the right, a cast from the same mold has been sanded smooth.
A more classic look is also available. Atomized bronze embedded in a polymer/plaster matrix gives this casting not just the look of metal, but the ability to withstand weather and patina like solid bronze, at a fraction of the cost of foundry work. Castings made in this fashion are 75% bronze by weight.
The identical process gives a very different look with coarser bronze particles. This cast has been sanded smooth, and then buffed to reveal the metal above the plaster matrix. After buffing, the entire piece was burnished to flatten and spread the surface particles. The piece has been well-photographed here, but the final look of this finish is not quite identical to solid bronze; some residual whiteness of the plaster matrix is still visible in strong light.
Coarse bronze is an ideal choice for outdoor applications. The cost is less than that of the fine bronze, and will acquire a patina just as well.
This piece is another example of bonded coarse bronze. This piece has not been burnished, and so does not have the mirror-like shine. It has a bit of natural patina beginning to form, which shows here as a slight green cast, especially in the creases of the eyes.
Surface colors can also be applied to the plaster, whether smoothed or not. Brushed paints and spray paints do well on plaster, and help to fill in pores and small wrinkles. The possibilities for color are unlimited. If you want a metallic finish, but are put off by the cost of the actual bronze, there are some surface treatments shown here that will give the look of copper, aluminium, gold, brass, or bronze. Please be aware that these finishes are not suitable for outdoor installation.

The six finishes below are all paste wax. They contain very fine metal powder plus pigment in a wax base. They polish to a nice luster, and will reflect glancing light quite well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Training & selection

In some countries there are organisations which concern themselves with the competence, conduct and reliability of art models. An example is the Register of Artists' Models (RAM) in the United Kingdom. Some basic training is offered to beginners and membership is by audition - to test competence, not to discriminate on grounds of physical characteristics. RAM also acts as an important employment exchange for models and publishes the 'RAM Guidelines', which are widely referred to by models and employers.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


The Greeks, who had the naked body constantly before them in the exercises of the gymnasium, had far less need of professional models than the moderns; but it is scarcely likely that they could have attained the high level reached by their works without constant study from nature. It was probably in Ancient Greece that models were first used. The story told of Zeuxis by Valerius Maximus, who had five of the most beautiful virgins of the city of Crotone offered him as models for his picture of Helen, proves their occasional use.

During the Renaissance, painters generally made use of their relations and friends as models, of which many examples might be quoted from Venice, Florence, Rome and other places, and the stories of Titian and the duchess of Ferrara and of Botticelli and Simonetta Vespucci, go to show that ladies of exalted rank were sometimes not averse from having their charms immortalized by the painter's brush. Paid models were not unknown, as the story of the unfortunate contadino used by Jacopo Sansovino as model for his statue of the Bacchus will show.

Artists' models as a special class appeared when the establishment of schools for the study of the human figure created a regular demand, and since that time the remuneration offered has ensured a continual supply. In the media era, modeling is also coveted as a way to achieve notoriety or even celebrity status opening the way to other careers, such as acting.