, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 45–66 | Cite as

“Out of disegno invention is born” — Drawing a convincing figure in Renaissance Italian Art

  • Paul van den Akker


An important artistic topic of Italian Renaissance painting was the rendering of the human figure. As leading actors in a painted narrative, figures had to convince beholders of the reality of the matter depicted with appropriated attitudes and gestures. This article is about two ways of drawing or rather constructing the human figure artists developed to achieve this goal. The first was only an adaptation to an old method: because of the rather simple and coarse elements used, constructions often resulted in faulty pictures and were for that matter often criticized. As this article will show, the second method involved a new and very successful drawing skill, which not just required a different kind of knowledge of visual forms but of procedures of moving the hand, too.


Visual Form Coarse Element Figure Artist Artistic Topic Drawing Skill 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul van den Akker
    • 1
  1. 1.Vakgroep KunstgeschiedenisAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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