|Pietro Annigoni (1956) Pen and China Ink portrait of Mrs. J. L. Vernon|
There are three distinct techniques here that blend seamlessly: The clothing is treated so roughly it looks more like a bark rubbing than a drawing, and is combined with loose calligraphic lines that define the folds in the broadest of strokes. The hair is tighter, yet still loosely hatched and defined with lines that resemble a woodcut. His third and most refined technique is reserved for the main area of focus, and demands our attention with the most subtle shifts in value. You can see the same techniques applied to his paintings too.
Ever since I came across a dusty old book of Pietro Annigoni's paintings and drawings I've been hooked. He had some killer soundbites too, so without further ado here are some of my favorite portraits along with quotes from the maestro himself.
"Ineptitude has today, it seems, acquired full rights of citizenship
in the realm of art."
"Truly, contemporary society is at once the slave and victim of the boundless liberty it has drawn upon itself.
As far as Art is concerned, the image comes to mind
of a great raft drifting in a sea,
without a landing place and without a course."
"Impulse alone does not make a work of art."
"I had recourse to a dictionary of synonyms,
and there I found "deformed" in the company with such terms as
"ugly, foul, loathsome, obscene,"
and read moreover that
"to deform is to make something ugly in form."