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Virtual Student Exhibition : Figure Drawing Exhibition

Students Figure Drawing Exhibition: Fall 2020

The are pieces were done in Spring 2020 by the students of Thomas MacPherson class, ARTH 115: The History of the Body and Its Representation. For this capstone, students had to draw the whole human figure, from head to feet, depicting the anatomy seen in the surface structure and employ chiaroscuro and the categories of light to their drawings. The figure had to be either a standing, reclining, sitting, or a foreshortened pose. In these drawings, students were encouraged to find influences from artists studied in the art history lectures and then apply their findings with the techniques from the studio section of the course and possibly communicate an idea.


Meagan Palmer

Conte’ crayon on Hand  Toned Paper

Megan’s conte’ crayon drawing is reminiscent of Renaissance drawings on toned paper and could be a variation of the pose found in Michelangelo’s female figure, Night, located in the New Sacristy in the Medici Chapel.
Megan has created a figure that expresses melancholy through the upward gaze of the figure lost in thought to the stressful, twisting pose. The feeling of tension is further reinforced by the harsh color of the toned paper, by the leaning of the left arm on the left knee, by the pointing of the foot at an unexpected angle, and by the contracted gastrocnemius muscle in the bent leg.

Anna Beltramini

Charcoal on Hand Toned Paper

Anna confided in me that she never really tried drawing before and never knew she had any talent.
Her drawing is completed on toned paper, a favorite of artists working in the Quattrocento, and features the categories of light found in the work of artists like Leonardo and Raphael.
The effect of the interplay of light and surface structure and the way anatomy appears and then disappears into volumetric forms, produces a refined and strangely beautiful drawing.

Hana Meda


Hana also took a directed study in figure painting in watercolor this semester as a companion course to The History of the Body and Its Representation. She was able to apply her knowledge of perceptual figure drawing and influences from artists we studied in the art history section to her paintings. The formal elements combined with the strong directional light from the right, produces a dreamy setting where the figure appears to be deep in contemplation.

Olivia Delahunt


Olivia choose a dramatic, foreshortened pose that expresses a sense of anguish fortified by a contorted pose. The torso is laying flat while the pelvis and legs twist away from the viewer. There is something uneasy looking at the figure shielding her face and the physically challenging pose.

Rachael Natoli

Conte’ crayon on Toned Paper

Rachael composed her figure along the lines of contemporary artist Philip Pearlstein who allows his models to be cut off by the picture plane. Her approach to this drawing is full of tension because the pose suggests a person resting but, the way the figure is cropped,  produces a claustrophobic space that sends mixed messages to the viewer.

Megan Kenney

Unknown medium 

In Megan’s drawing, the model is also looking back at the viewer with a look that suggests that the viewer is intruding in her space. The manner of the pose suggests a feeling of modesty with the figure not at all comfortable with the situation.
On a technical level, Megan’s drawing combines closely related values that subtlety brings out surface anatomy with carefully observed foreshortening. 

Jenna Coburn

Graphite and Charcoal​

Jenna takes a contemporary approach, in her drawing, that depicts a foreshortened, crouching figure in chiaroscuro, a system of value making where values change gradually and tones range from white paper to the darkest darks.
Jenna drew the light to medium dark tones in graphite, to exploit its subtle tone making properties, and then switched to charcoal to obtain the darkest darks, a technique found in contemporary artist Steven Assael.
Through the harmony of the pose and light, Jenna concentrated on the distribution of movement and energy as the figure begins to rise.

Azulmar Escalera


Azul chose to pose her figure as a modest, unidealized, modern day Venus that has ties to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. Like feminist artist Jenny Saville, Azul challenges cultural obsessions and asks the question, “What is a modern body supposed to look like?”
She chose a value range that accentuates the round, voluptuous forms but, at the same time, still reveals the muscular and skeletal features.

Kira Baran


Kira’s drawing incorporates subtle foreshortening and the anatomical factor found in many Renaissance artists.
Her drawing also considers a contemporary issue of what is beauty? Kira’s subject is based on contemporary figure artists and their quest to draw figures of real people with visible muscular and skeletal structure, not just smooth and soft idealized forms.

Hana Meda

Charcoal and Conte’ crayon

Hana’s drawing is an excellent example of the use of chiaroscuro. She was able to produce a full range of values and develop volume and at the same time to keep the gestural quality of the pose. The drawing is successful because Hana mapped out the figure with loose gestural lines and built her tones over them.

Max Pham

Conte’ crayon and Pastel

Max chose to do a drawing of a male nude using the crosshatching style of a combination of Michelangelo and Paul Cadmus. Max took a risk by using a yellow-green background since it is such a hard hue to work into skin tones. To make a harmonious composition, Max let the yellow-green of the background become part of the flesh color and in the process, the earth colors and her crosshatching jump off the page.


Piper Lambert-Vail


Piper's drawing has very strong abstract qualities because the scale of the figure activates the negative background shapes. The scale of the figure also suggests to the viewer that the body is going to bust out beyond the confines of the picture plane.  Our attention is drawn to the strange bend of the limbs adding an element of tension as to how all of this fits together on a piece of paper. This drawing displays wonderful nuanced values that reveals the surface structure. These values are soft and delicate and temper the anxiety felt by looking at the angular pose.

Leah Fried


Leah’s work is the only drawing that places a nude with a piece of furniture and suggests a room setting, a device used by contemporary artists to give their work a sense of uneasiness. She places her full frontal nude by a piece of furniture that suggests a part of the house where nudity is not necessarily found and makes it seem like her figure is out of place giving her drawing an element of eroticism.
To capture this sensuous mood, Leah has drawn her figure with predominately middle tones that seamlessly change without abrupt contrasts.