Art 2 – Pentimento – Due 4/23


1. Look at the following work by Leonardo. Notice the rhythms and movement in the drawing and how the media is layered and built up.

Virgin and Child with St Anne and John the Baptist

2. Read the following article about Jenny Saville’s drawings and the pentimento in her work. Comment on the effect of the pentimenti in her work and how different it is than the type of drawings you just finished.

Jenny Saville

3. Look at the following 2 videos by William Kentridge. Notice how the animation is a record of the drawing’s transformation to tell a story and how pentimenti plays a role in creating a richness and a connection to the artist’s thought process. Comment on one of your favorite passages in the animation and explain why you especially enjoy that transformation.

4. Look at the following sites for other examples of pentimenti in drawing.


(scroll down to green title “The Newest in Pentimenti”  and then to “Just in Time for Spring Break” Read those posts and look at the images.)

pinterest pentimento

For each site, comment on the 2  images that interest you most and explain why (total of 4 to choose and discuss.)





8 responses »

  1. 1. no comment needed
    2. Pentimenti are interesting in her work because they represent past experiences of the bodies she represents. Shadows of other people can be visible in her works, as well as marks such as scars or bruises.They are different than the drawings we have been doing because these have marks of previous drawings beneath them.
    3. I love in the second video when the guy is opening the newspaper. I like how it has lines from the motion throughout the section and how it leaves a path of where the paper was. It seems very Futurist to me.
    4. In the first link, I like the bubbly looking piece because you can see the outline of a bird in the foreground, but it’s not obvious. I also like the bright blue streaky one because it has pleasing colors and you can sort of see people in the blue shapes. In the second link, I like the Old Guitarist because of his blue skin and the outlines of the old woman in the background. I also like the one of David Bowie mixed with the x-ray, because it seems to be a clever play on traditional pentimento (bc of the x-ray).

    • That newspaper passage is one of my favorites in this Kentridge piece too. The broken fractured lines are like the rustling of the paper as it is read and turned. That’s an interesting aspect also to think of the Futurists repetitive forms…..

  2. I like how Da Vinci has the background and the figures be of the same value, it looks natural even though the background is otherwise empty. As for Saville, the drawings on top of each other are really effective, it better gives the impression of a mother trying to think while simultaneously attempting to keep a wriggling baby from falling off her lap. In the first video, I love the part after it introduces Johannesburg, where a cloud moves across the sky. The animation was gorgeous there, especially since it was done with erasing and applying pencil. I also like how they made cars move on roads by shifting and resifting a few lines. On pin interest, I like Margo Selski mainly because of the subject matter, and CarlWhite for the feather details and the subject matter, once again. On the other blog, I like the overlapping women on the third picture down (second section), and the twelfth one for the mood it makes.

  3. 2. Saville uses pentimenti to show old traces of her characters’ bodies and to show movement. This style unveils certain aspects of her work and raises new questions for the viewer. I haven’t drawn anything yet, being out of town, so I can’t compare.

    3. My favorite part is when the man reads the newspaper. I like how the animation causes the paper to crinkle and move piece by piece.

    4. From the first website, I enjoyed the pentimento by Kayla Sorenson because I liked the shapes incorporated, the balance between images, and the colors used. Link below:

    I also liked Scott Bunge’s work. It looks a little Picasso. Link below:

    From the second website, I liked Jette Clover’s Pentimento #9 of a woman’s face imprinted several times under collaged material. I appreciated the use of collage and the expression of the woman.

    I also enjoyed the creepy white feet by Madden Harkness, “Black and White Images.” I was drawn to the sharp contrast and the chalkboard texture.

  4. After watching William Kentidge’s two animated videos, I would have to say that my favorite passage occurs in “Anything is Possible” during the segment entitled ‘Soho Feeds the Poor.’ I really love how the pentimento creates the impression that there are multiple drawings occurring, and adds to the animation’s sense of movement and motion. I like how the table is empty and then quickly fills up as the man clicks his cutlery together in anticipation of a gluttonous meal. I also think the pentimento technique would have been interesting to see in an animation if color was used instead of just black-and-white.
    I enjoyed the “Newest in Pentimenti” post on the art blog, especially the idea that pentimenti acts as a visual reminder of the artistic process experienced by the artist. The two pieces I found most interesting on this website were those by Julio Labra and Fahrudin Omerovic. I think that both seemed intensely personal—almost like reading someone’s journal, or looking into their mind. On the pintrest pentimento site, I enjoyed the “Mid-treatment detail of hand with pentimento still visible” because I like how the pentimenti made the hand appear to have too many fingers. I also liked Robert Weingarten’s “Warsaw,” part of his Pentimento Series, because this picture appeared to play with digital photography in order to create the illusion of ghostly faces traced across a photograph of Warsaw’s apartment buildings. This seems to create a kind of time-travel: the picture of the apartment buildings seems fairly modern, but the photographs of people are clearly from the World War II era, focusing the viewer’s attention (at least in my interpretation) on the impact of the Nazi invasion of Poland.

    • The clicking cutlery part is another one of my favorite passages – it underscores his gluttony so well! That’s a great reference you found to the pentimenti in the digital photography – another variation on the idea of recording the artist’s creative process.

  5. Jenny Saville says that her pieces sometimes takes years to finish, whether it be because she takes months of breaks between working on them, or tirelessly adds to them for long stretches of time. I think that shows up in the pentimento in her work, because when you take that long of a break between working on a project, new aspects and ideas come into play that weren’t there before, and you can see the remnants of your old ideas under and between the new ideas taking shape.
    In the second video, I liked the scene when you were looking at those three houses in a row, and then the exterior of two of the houses got erased so that the interior could be filled in. It was a smooth transition from the outside of the house to the inside. I like the pentimento of these videos because they really illustrate the process behind animation and how much work it takes, and it feels so smooth.
    For the first site, I like the third piece in the “Newest in Pentimenti” section. I thought that although it wasn’t very defined, it had the most definition of all the pieces. While some of the others, although beautiful with colors and shape and tone, were very undefined and sort of wishy-washy, you could see a lot of different elements in the third one. It felt like the artist had a lot of different ways that they wanted to go with the piece, and just did all of them instead of deciding.
    On the Pininterest site, there was one piece that was a very detailed painting of a hand. I thought it was interesting that it was listed under pentimento because it looked so finished.

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