Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Draw the Acanthus, Part III

'How to draw the Acanthus' is a perennial topic with a rich history. I covered some points in Part I and Part II, and am presenting these drawings as a further aid to drawing the acanthus scroll and related ornament. Though most suitable to hand-carving, they have a simplistic contour and sharp contrasts of light and dark which lend themselves well to an understanding of painted trompe l'oeil and the study of simple form.  They are not as ornate as say, the drawings of LePautre, which are very elaborate and detailed, but that also means that they're less confusing to study. I personally find them to be a little heavy for trompe l'oeil or grottesca, but there are some elemental ornate forms here that are really nicely treated.

And the truth is they are closer to what one might expect to paint in a real-world job situation. As gorgeous as the drawings of LePautre are, modern taste seems to tend towards economy of ornament - if we see ornament of this nature at all any more.

All Illustrations this article: "Motifs Ornementaux: Sculptures Sur Bois" [Editions H. Vial]


  1. This post is so timely for me, Alan. I am working on designs for a small groin ceiling and a turret ceiling in a home being built with a somewhat modernized medieval theme. Sections of several of these will be perfect.

    Thanks so much! -Ann

  2. wonderful examples Alan. Thanks for continuing this topic.

  3. do you happen to know how to make a single acanthus leaf? my head is about to fall off...