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Article

Martin Postle

Person subjecting his or her body to an artist’s observation. A tradition of working from living models, begun in Classical times, was revived in Europe in the Renaissance and was an important feature of academic practice until the 20th century.

The model, in the academic sense, was from its inception until the 19th century synonymous with the male figure. The earliest recorded reference to artists’ models comes from Pliny the elder, who states that ‘nude statues holding a spear’ were ‘modelled after young men in the gymnasium’. But earlier than this, Greek sculptors had drawn on empirical observation and imitation of the nude male, using the individual as the basis for the construction of an aesthetic ideal. Polykleitos, for example, whose system of proportions for the human figure was embodied in a treatise (the Canon) and a statue (the Doryphoros, late 5th century bc; copy, Naples, Mus. Archeol. N.), based his work exclusively on the male nude. There was, by way of contrast, no attempt to quantify the beauty of the female form. The female model was regarded, as the earliest references indicate, in a highly subjective manner. Commonly assumed to be the artist’s mistress, she was regarded as a physical embodiment of his muse. ...

Article

Studio  

Carola Hicks

[workshop]

Artist’s place of work. The term is also used to define the work of an artist’s assistants or followers.

In the most straightforward sense, a studio is the place where an artist works, its nature determined by the practical needs of production: adequate light by which to see and space in which to create the work of art. Subsequent activities (e.g. storage, display, and sale) and related activities (e.g. training) may also be considerations. Since work in a studio might involve a whole range of artistic practices, often each with several different processes, separate areas of work are required. There has always been some difference between the needs of painting and of sculpture, for example the latter’s requirement of distinct areas for modelling in clay and in plaster, for casting in metal, and for carving in wood and various types of stone. The processes involved in creating a painting require the preparation of drawing implements, paints, wood panels or canvases, and frames; these are all carried out within the studio, but can take place within one large room. On the other hand, a stained-glass studio (whether medieval or 19th century) might have employed many people, who remained segregated within specialist activities, which were carried out in separate areas under the same roof. Although a studio thus implies a specific space reserved for artistic activity, in the medieval period, because so many works were carried out ...