the Charles Bargue Casts

The collaboration between Charles Bargue and Jean-Léon Gérôme was very fruitful and produced one of the most influential classical drawing courses in the history of artistic education.

Bargue was a student of Jean-Léon Gérôme. Bargue worked closely with Gérôme and was influenced by his style.

The Cours de Dessin was published between 1866 and 1871 by Goupil & Cie and invited the students to learn and improve the study of the figure through drawing from life. 

The rich book, today very rare to found in original, is divide into three parts including 197 lithographs printed as individual sheets. The sections are Drawing after Casts, Master Drawings and Male Models. The first part Models after Casts consisted of seventy plates was described as ‘in itself a basic and systematically progressive course with the purpose of giving the student the capacity to draw a complete academic figure.’

The Course had the goal of guiding students in drawing from plaster casts to the study of great masters and then approaching the drawing from the living model.

Many famous artists, among them also Pablo Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh, when they were students copied part or the entire plates set of Bargue Course.

Today the Charles Bargue Drawing Course is used by many art academies and ateliers which focus of classical realism.

The gradual learning process, proposed in the course, represents the typical academic path in the study of drawing and the human figure that was used in the academies of the nineteenth century. In recent years we are seeing a significant return to this study method and the best academies have included it in their programs as a primary study tool, consequently also a very large use of plaster casts.

The advantages of drawing from casts is obtained by their immobility which allows long pose at different times. Their white color allows an easier reading of light and shadow values on their surface. For this reason I have selected some of the casts included in the Cours de Dessin series in a series available on this purpose.

Plate I, 44

Plate I, 53

Plate I, 47

Plate I, 38

Plate I, 57

Plate I, 49

Plate I, 10

Plate I, 8

All Casts are available for sale on our Catalog in Plaster or White Gyps Resin, which is a special material that we have developed to have the same aesthetic features as plaster, but more durable and washable for an intensive use in Academies, Art Class and Art Studio.

The Bargue-Gerome Drawing Course is today available as a reprint in a volume of 336 pages published by ACR Edition.