The Charles Bargue Drawing Course, 1868

According to Wikipedia

Charles Bargue (c. 1826/1827 – April 6, 1883) was a French painter and lithographer who devised a drawing course.

Life and career

Charles Bargue is mostly remembered for his Cours de dessin, one of the most influential classical drawing courses conceived in collaboration with Jean-Léon Gérôme. The course, published between 1866 and 1871 by Goupil & Cie, and composed of 197 lithographs printed as individual sheets, was to guide students from plaster casts to the study of great master drawings and finally to drawing from the living model.

Among the artists whose work is based on the study of Bargue’s platework is Vincent van Gogh, who copied the complete set in 1880/1881, and (at least a part of it) again in 1890.

And with that, I decided to do it myself. Why?  For several reasons. First, I am gearing up in my mind to paint in oils again but my drawing skills are a little rusty, I want to brush up a bit.  From past experiences taking painting classes, one thing that I noticed was how many of the students in the class were unprepared to paint because they couldn’t draw well. I believe drawing is the foundation for everything you do painting wise so I thought I could benefit from this.

Unlike most of what I have seen others do, I am not trying to make an “exact” copy down to the millimeter using graphite, but instead to use charcoal as was originally drawn and intended.  This original size was quite huge, about 60 cm by 40 cm, so using copies of the files I found online of the original plates, I copied the plates to the original size by printing them out with a laser printer, each plate took 4 pages of A4 paper. I then had to glue these 4 sheets together:



It was also quite difficult to find large size paper here where I live but I did finally manage to find some.  I copy by looking at the plate set up to the left of the easel.  Here is where I am so far, up to plate 6…


2015-02-07 18.01.18

IMG_3611 IMG_3633 IMG_3644
2015-02-25 20.09.04
2015-02-27 18.33.28


2 thoughts on “The Charles Bargue Drawing Course, 1868

  1. Are you supposed to do the drawings separately i.e. The foot. Or do you drawing the simplest version then work the second image onto that, then erase and finish the third image?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *