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The Renaissance

Rembrandt - Self Portraits

Development of Self Portrait

"Draw what you think you look like."

Learning about proportion.

Self portrait using a mirror and paying attention to the details and proportions of the face.

Notice how the eyes are in the forehead. This is common even in drawings by adults. In this drawing the child still does not believe the eyes are in the middle of the face. See how she has "cheated" the middle line upwards and put the eyes on top of the line as well. Here the student has got the proportion and I really like how she has looked at the details in their eyes and the skin under and over their eyes. Some students went so far as to include the veins in the surface of their eyeballs.
I thought it was interesting that this student did the profile, or side view, of their face. Notice the placement of the ear in relationship to the head. Again, you can see how this student thought his eyes were at the crown of his head. This middle drawing shows how the student was still thinking the eyes were higher than they were. We talked about how we have five eye-spaces across our head. This student tried to space the eyes he drew by drawing a faint middle eye.

We experimented with colour to add shading to this picture. He has the eyes in the right place both vertically and horizontally.


Finished Portrait

Notice the shape of the tear duct (1), the reflection of light beside the pupil (4) and the detail in the iris (3). The student has included the upper eyelid (5) and then she faded it out to make it more subtle. The eyebrow is feathered and made up of strokes to simulate real hair (2). Finally the shading of the nose uses multiple colours to give it depth.

Rembrandt liked to put half of his portraits dark with the other half in light. (We just called it light and dark impressions.)

Brunelleschi and the Origin of Linear Perspective

Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the first to carry out a series of optical experminents that led to a mathematical theory of perspective. He discovered the central vanishing point also determined the horizon line. Through careful mathematical calculation, 3-dimensional objects were realistically portrayed.


Through careful measuring, we too were able to create perspective drawings. We kept our measuring lines so you can see our horizon line and vanishing point.

Michaelangelo Baby!

We worked on human proportions first and then worked with aluminum foil to create our form. Then we covered the aluminum foil with Fimo. We added detail to create a Michaelangelo-type statue. We had to make the folds for the robes and found it challenging trying to attach them to our statue.


Botticelli is well known for round compositions. We took some of Botticelli's pictures and did a close up of one part of his painting. See the original picture. This character is in the lower right hand side.

We painted in wet plaster, a technique called fresco. Michaelangelo used this technique a lot.


Copyright © 2003 remains with the student artists.