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This book is not in of itself a Classical Drawing Atelier. And I believe many people mistake the title to mean that it is an instructional art book. This book is not a drawing course, although it has a few short instructional exercises at the end. Aristides has written a lovely book about Atelier studio practice, its history, roots, and current pedagogy. This book is going to be most useful for a student who is trying to decide what sort of education she wants to invest in or for atelier students who want to know more about their program.
I take courses (as I can afford them) in the atelier mentorship style from one of Aristide's students (Eduardo Fernandez). This book was helpful for me to understand what I should expect as a student so I could get the most out of the program. After reading about the program, I decided that this was the sort of studio practice I want to learn, and I have doubled my efforts to save money for taking more courses and I plan to eventually enter a full time program like Atelier Aristides.
An initial viewing of this book can be deceptive - it has an interesting mix of old-style and more modern drawings executed in the classical atelier mode - so on a superficial viewing the mix can appear inconsistent or lacking homogeneity. But don't be misled - this book definitely deserves the average 4-5 stars it has been rated.
The secret of much of its success is in the text, which relates specifically to the high-quality supplied drawings and is as instructive as it is easy to read and follow. Key fundamentals are well outlined and explained, and the sections build upon one another to a culminate in a short series of lessons at the end of the book. This provides for an excellent artistic reference book where the more you put into using it, the more you will get out of it. Definitely recommended for students, and the experienced alike.
At 144 pages, over one-third of which are drawing examples and with wide margins around the text, this is a slim book that covers the past 600 years of atelier philosophy. Or to say it another way, Aristides narrows it down to a nutshell.
Covering briefly a variety of ideas (i.e., art history, art theory, art reference, as well as how-to), each chapter could be expanded to become a book of its own.
The real questions are: Do you want to buy this book? Will you refer to it 100 times over the year? Will you be inspired? Will you take "anything" away with you after you have read the book?
The answer will depend on your current perceptions and where you are and where you are going as an artist. If you are interested in an overview of atelier philosophy, this would be a good book to begin with.
A wealth of knowledge,experience and fortitude has gone into the development of this artists' essential guide to the attainment of high art. The crucial need of the artist to configure the subject correctly is aspired to in this book, and the pictures are superb. The methods used to obtain high standard preliminary (and necessary) rendering of the subject is covered in this book and is really a valuable guide to anyone considering joining an atelier program prior to their commencement. As well it is valuable for anyone wanting to appreciate how perfection is obtained- albeit the 'truth' of art. An excellent resource and Julitte Aristides lengthy career has gone into its' making. I can wait for her Classical Painting book also to be published reportedly some time later in 2007.
The book offers the reader two perspectives in experiencing draughtmanship in drawing. 1. THe classical art training method enables the reader to begin art training step by step into the realm of realist drawing and painting. 2. Developing skills enabling progress to painting.
A well thought out all round book committed in respecting the reader.