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THEORY OF ARCHITECTURE. Boob II


CHAP. IV.
MEDIUM OF EXPRESSION.
Sect. I.
DRAWING IN GENERAL.
2381. Under this section It is not our intention to enter Into the refinements of the
art, but merely to make tlie attempt of directing tlie student to the first principles of a
faithful representation of ordinary and familiar objects, with all their imperfections; or,
in otlier words, of transferring to a plane surface what the artist actually sees or con-
ceives in his mind. This power is of vital importance to the architect, and without it
he is unworthy the name.
2382. The usual mode of teacliing drawing now in use is, as we conceive, among the
most absurd and extravagant methods of imparting instruction that can be well conceived.
The learniT is usually first put to copying drawings or i)rints, on wliicb he is occupied for
a considerable time. Mucli more would he learn, and much more quickly, by ft)llowing
tlie course which the following lines will prescribe. Outline is the foundiition of all drawing;
the alphabet of graphic art. As soon as the student has attained the use of the pencil and the
pen in drawing purely geometrical figures, lie is prepared to receive the rudiments of
i)er-
spective. As shown in the following section, the representations of all geometrical solids
is dependent upon mechanical means
;
and tliese may, if it be desirable, be shadowed truly
by the methods given in Sect. III.
;
but what is now called free-hand drawing is the matter
for our ])resent consideration.
'_';58.'3.
Outline, as we have stated above, is the foundation of all drawing, the alphabet
of graphic art. Every representation of an object, or series of objects, however compli-
cated, is in reality but a set of outlines composed of straight or curved lines. The know-
ledge, or rather the power of forming these lines, is essential to the student, and in the
same manner that be was obliged to form pothooks and hangers before he proceeded to
ellipses when be was taught to write, he should begin his study of free-hand drawing by
))raciising himself in the production of straight lines, proceeding to segments, and then to
curves of contrary flexure. It is a good plan to compare the copy with the pattern
;
and,
inasmuch as all formal diagrams that are set as patterns should be perfect, it is desirable
that the standards for straight lines, segments, and contrary flexures should be drawn by
the teacher himself from rulers; these rulers can he subsequently applied to tiie copies,
<iiid are sometimes the only evidence upon which to make a mutinous pupil conscious of
his errors. The student ought not to proceed to the elliptical and oval forms until the
hand, first turning one way, can draw a tolerably correct circle
; and then, turning in the
other direction, can make another equally good. The next step will be to acquire the
power of drawing spiral lines in one direction, and of repeating theiii in another; which
will be followed by that of drawing lines either jiarallel or slowly approximating.
2;i83a. After this, the student is sufficiently advanced to attempt to repeat all these
stages with copies of a size larger or less than the patterns
;
and he will be ready to Karn
the mechanical use of chalk. Tiiis branch of his tuition needs only such examples as the
jirints, which have been prepared for that purpose, of purely geometrical forms : in this
b'.age the rudiments of shadow are implanted, and the use of the brush may be acquired.
23836. Tiie student will then be ready to learn the mode of oI)taining local colour,
and of blending bis materials so as to obtain tints and shades of the ditJerent colours. The
next steps would be to draw in chalk, in ink, or in colour, the simplest architectural orna-
ments, such as a chevron or an ovolo ; and to proceed through a course of architectural
foliage fioin prints. The residt of such training is usually a confidence in the eye
;
and,
wliat is sometimes highly important, a judgment so sound as to be able to reproduce any
part of a subject that may have been destroyed.
2 i83c. Aptitude of the pujiil must be a consideration, but In general a year of steady
appliL-ation may be sufficient so to imbue the mind with the grammar of architectural orna-
raent, as to enable the hand to represent it; after which the stirdent ought to be capable of
inventing for himself. Indeed, it is only by sucli a course tliat originality in designing
ornament can be obtained. The study of natural foliage, first as seen, and then as conven-
tionalized, may be carried out at the same time.