Sheet from Sketchbook A - four female half-figures

František Tkadlík

František Tkadlík - Sheet from Sketchbook A - four female half-figures
The oldest of Tkadlík’s surviving sketch pads - Sketchbook A - dates to his studies at the Prague Academy and the artist started it in 1811. It contains mainly figural drawings, with some landscape sketches inserted here and there, including a comprehensive series of works that originated during Tkadlík’s trip to Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland. The first few pages are filled with study drawings made according to the varied range of classical artworks that belonged to the basic repertoire of academic training - in addition to many motifs dating back to antiquity, including the figures of Laocoön and Ilioneus, the most attention-catching are the effective studies of the damned from Michelangelo’s fresco The Last Judgement. The sharp linear drawing focuses on capturing the structure of the human body, particularly those parts of almost hypertrophied musculature. However, even despite this linear stylisation, it is possible to see the structure within the figure, when bodily shapes are formed beneath the draperies, and sometimes even internal organs. In Tkadlík’s earliest drawings in Sketchbook A, his pencil work shows care and a firm hand, but it is not yet fully relaxed. The future softness of his lines is apparent only in circular shapes, bringing them into a certain conflict with the overall stiffness of the figures. In the case of studies made using three-dimensional models, Tkadlík started using white chalk from the very beginning to accentuate the plasticity of shapes. Therefore, even in his earliest works it applies that he never proceeded schematically when working according to a model; he always considered depth, the internal structure of bodily shapes and, within the context of the changes through which his artworks progressed, they always retained his characteristic personal signature.
measurements: height 273 mm
width 230 mm
material: paper
technique: pencil, white chalk
inventory number: K 4625
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings
from cycle: Sketchbook A