Sonntag, 17. März 2013

Alles zeichnen - drawing everything

At the turn of the last century, young art students in Berlin were questioning the academic teaching methods.
In a circular letter that was addressed to famous painters like Böcklin and Degas, the students were doubting the necessity of drawing from plaster casts and were asking whether a contemporary approach to fine arts should include lengthy studies of plaster casts before the student would  finally work with a living model.

While other artists wrote long essays and explanations why it was necessairy or whether it wasn't, the Berlin painter Adolph Menzel replied with a single sentence:

alles Zeichnen ist nützlich
und Alles zeichnen auch.

A german pun that is pretty hard to translate, for the capitalized noun "das Zeichnen" can mean the whole complex of drawing while the verb "zeichnen" describes the process of drawing.
The best translation that I could find so far is:

all drawing is useful
and drawing everything as well.

 While exploring the working methods and life of Adolph Menzel together with my friends Christoph Heuer and James Gurney I relied on one of the most important sources for art historians when researching Menzel. It was the memoirs of his friend, the artist Paul Meyerheim, in Berlin most known as the "Löwen Meyer" (the "lion's-Meyer"), because of his exquisite work as an animal painter and  mainly interested in the depiction of exotic animals.
You find the famous Menzel quote slightly altered there namely:

"alles Zeichnen ist gut
aber Alles zeichnen ist besser"

("all drawing is good
but drawing everything is even better than that")

With the help of James, I tried to translate the pun into english.
And here we go:
Welcome to Blogland! 
Alles Zeichnen, drawing everything. or as well "everything that has to do with drawing", but as well with painting and everything that crosses my way and my curiosity.

I hope you'll enjoy and find some interesting and useful things here.
Thank you, Carol Craig for proofreading! 

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