Charles Bargue (1826/27-1883), a lithographer and painter, worked in collaboration with Jean-Leon Gerome (1824-1904) a french academician known for his precise drawings, to publish a Drawing Course (Cours de dessin) in France. The course followed the established protocol of art schools at the time, which had students begin by copying plaster casts and moved progressively to the live model. In this course, the student would copy a lithographic plate precisely to develop the skills necessary to then draw from life. There were 197 lithograph plates of precise drawings after classical casts, master drawings and male models, all arranged in progressive difficulty.
The ARA in Boston uses Bargue’s system to afford students this classical training. The student begins with copying a Bargue drawing of a level one cast. I chose the foot below. The lithograph copy is on the left and my drawing is on the right.
The second level Bargue plate that I selected was the arm below. Again, my drawing is on the right.
The third level drawing, of Homer is below.