The Oxford dictionary states a drawing as ‘the formation of a line by drawing some tracing instrument from point to point of a surface; representation by lines; delineation as distinguished from painting… the arrangement of lines which determine form. ‘ So, by following this rule I have selected two drawings, one contemporary and one historical to compare. I will be looking at how the time such developments in technology has influenced the artists and how we now draw or produce drawings. I have chosen to look at M. C. Escher’s piece ‘drawings hands’ (as my 0th century drawing) and Ramon Bruin’s work ‘The Twins’ (as my 21st century drawing).
They both enjoy playing with perspective and creating illusions to manipulate the viewer’s eye. M. C. Escher is globally well-known graphic artist, born in Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands but spent most of his adult life, living and travelling in Italy, which has said to have influenced a lot of his work. ‘Drawing hands’ is a lithograph, first printed in January 1948. This was produced by drawing with either oil, fat or wax on a smooth surface such as a limestone plate. Esher’s lack and white piece, is a drawing of a drawing, drawing. He has drawn a piece of paper with two raised hands drawings each other.
Ramon Bruin was born in 1981 and graduated in 2010 from the Airbrush Academie in Lelystad, The Netherlands. He produced the 2013 piece ‘The Twins’ in Prisma colour premier pencils on 300 gsm paper. This drawing is of two young boys drawing each other, the focus is on one boy’s face in full concentration while drawing the shoe and remaining leg of the other. Comparison: I noticed the similarities the feeling of movement in both ompositions, for example, a circular motion through the subjects creating a flow to the pieces due to the way they have been created and connected.
Especially, in Escher’s, there is an infinite feel, as the viewer not knowing where the piece starts and finishes. Unlike, Bruin’s work which isn’t so mirrored and symmetrical so this feeling doesn’t occur. Another obvious comparison I observed from both artist was their conscious decision to focus on hands, this potentially be the artists recognising how important ‘hands have been in their life’s. However, this could be a religious statement of how God reated man-king, one by one, or an alternative reproduction or re-creation.
The previous comment could relate to both the two drawings. On Escher piece the wrinkled hands suggest old age and way the hand is drawing or creating the sleeve, which could potential be the rest of the body may symbolise the elderly not ready being ready to say goodbye”. Loosing the battle either mentally or physically, also symbolise self help and be a comment on how alone the older generation sometimes admits they feel. In compared to Bruin’s youthful piece where one subject is freely helping the other. The ‘twins’ in this piece are
Bruin’s nephew, he was inspired by the way they play together and speak their own made-up language. He has connected them, which could also be a way of showing twin telepathy and that ‘special connection’ twins have. Bruin work is also more uplifting, following this theme his has chosen to work in colour. The bright piece adds to the optisimic, full of potential quality; the white untouched background could be a way of him showing the young children having a clean slat and their whole life ahead of them. The jumper’s contrast, making them vibrant due to them being complementary colours red and green).
Following the colour theory, red can mean energy, strength and power which matches the fact the boy in the red jumper is more dominant compared with the boy in the green jumper which this colour symbolises harmony and being more reserved. Also, the colour green can be associated with growth, Bruin may have chosen this deliberate, as the boy in the green jumper can be seen appearing or might say growing on the page. However, Escher sticks with a monochrome style, maybe due to wanting to keep the pieces as simplified as possible holding its purity.
The very detailed hands stand out from the page due to the high level of detail and intense highlights and shadowing. This contrasts with the linear outline of the sleeve and the beginning of the wrists, making it seem like the hands are raising out of the page. He covers the whole picture plane and goes right to the edges, the marking making and shadowing behind the paper adds to the three dimensional effect and the illusion is contained within the piece. On the other hand, Bruin was able to still produce the same effect with only drawing the subject and the shadow due to incorporating technology.
However, Escher’s work is effective from any perspective whereas, ‘The Twins’illusion only works if the piece is captured from a very precise camera angle or it would be completely distorted. Bruin invented this technique in 2012 and named it, ‘optical illusionism’ combining both photography and drawing in this manner. Escher did have the opportunity to use photography, and may have but not that we are aware of, especially in any famous finished pieces as they all seem to be head-rendered or printed. As in the mid 16th century, it was believed that Renaissance rtists such as Leonardo were using this technology.
An Italian scholar, Giovanni Battista Della Portacentury, produced an essay on helping artists to understand how the camera obscura can make the drawing process easier. He would project the image straight onto the canvas from the camera obscura and then drew over the top of the projection. However, Escher used to complain about his lack of natural drawing ability which mean most of pieces took a long time, so perhaps if he was born in a more technology developed era he may have looked into this medium.
Shane Willis produced a modern copy of Escher’s drawings amed, ‘Hands Fixing Hands’, he produced a lithograph but with using photography instead. This technological approach shows the development and impact this piece still has on todays artist. Link better Unlike Escher it is easier to have an emotional connection with Bruin piece due to being able to see one the children’s face. Also, in Escher’s piece the are the only relatable due to their realism as the rest of the drawings is just a linear outline.
However, this forces the viewer to focus purely on the hands with no other distractions, helping to place where the mportance of the piece lies. You could say both artworks slightly fit into several movements such as realism. Also, Op art, also known as Optical Art, due to both pieces being optical illusions and the way they manipulate the eye. However, it is mainly abstract pieces that are apart of this movement which I wouldn’t label these drawings as. Therefore, I believe Bruin is not apart of any movements I am aware of, but is simply developing his own style and work alone (for example, inventing the optical illusionism).
He works freelance which suggests from his other artworks that he gets nspiration from lots of things, such as animals, people architecture, transport, war, love etc. Bruin said, ‘For me the most important thing is to draw whatever I want. That makes me happy. This is very similar to Escher who again, didn’t want to be part of any particular movement. Although, many people say that he has a mathematical approach as he like to work and produce sketches on geometric grids. It is suggested that he was influenced by his engineering family background and his enrolment in the school for architecture and decorative arts in Harleem.
However, it was said that he failed his high school exams including Maths. Conclusion: To conclude, there are many similarities and differences in both drawing which have been influenced by environmental factors, such as technological developments. However, also, Escher’s work is to create something impossible, like a body drawing itself. Unlike, Bruin work where I feel technology has added another dimension and he just wants to make it three- dimensional and come alive. At first glance they seem to been very similar pieces with similar goals but at a close look the work is quiet different