Titian, the great master, provides fertile ground with which to work.
This particular painting, The Madonna Pesaro, has been on my mind for years. In my university days, I wrote a paper musing about the way that he turned an otherwise-static donor-family-in-the-corner grouping into a voyeuristic experience for the viewer, all by a simple turn of the head. Because of that outward-looking child in the donor grouping, you’re not only looking at them, you’re looking in at them and they’re looking back out at you! Clever little device.
I’ve written in the past about how I like to clump figures together (see huddled masses). You can see the mountain of figures in the Titian painting. This particular painting has such a beautiful composition, and the way that the figures all overlay each other lead my eye swirling through the painting, resting on that child’s face, and moving back around again…in my mind, he’s reached perfection in this painting.
Despite the perfection of the painting, or maybe because of it, on Day 2 of the drawing workshop I used this Titian painting as my source material. I worked with that donor grouping of the lower right corner. I originally wanted to focus on that child, but the drawing went through a number of changes and the figures became more and more abstracted. I just about lost the child, so that will have to wait for another drawing.
In the end, I don’t know…is it still figurative? It matters not, in any case. The drawing is finished, and it holds some amount of interest for me, and leads me off in another direction.