Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sargent's Spanish dancer

Gesture drawings—a few quickly, but carefully sketched lines—can speak volumes. John Singer Sargent's sketch for his Spanish Dancer, an oil study for the main figure in his El Jaleo, is powerful indeed. Look at those gorgeous lines! The passion and drama of this exotic Gypsy dancer shine through each suggestive, genius of scribbles, and it's really nice to see the artist's thought process. In his final painting, Sargent chose an interesting arm positions, the closest of which really make you take a second closer look. Sargent painted the dancer again in El Jaleo  (the name of a Spanish dance), where he shows a restrained color palette, dramatic film noir lighting, and a splash of red color on the right. John Singer Sargent has always been one of my favorite painters—love these works from his trip through Spain in 1879, and I also love his Venetian paintings sketches. Both the sketch and El Jaleo hang in Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum.

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