Saturday, 18 March 2006

Teacher suspended over life class

Picasso - Matador Luis Miguel Dominguin (1897)
The life class - a euphemism for art students' drawing naked models - has for centuries been the basis of art training in the civilized world. If an artist has no grasp of human anatomy, how can he or she portray human figures clothed or unclothed in realistic poses, let alone capture dynamic human action? Life classes lay bare the talent and ongoing development of the trainee artist. Each life class is an examination of students, not of the model. The products of such tests can form an historically valuable insight into a successful artist. A life drawing by Picasso shows more talent than one would suspect from his paintings, although the matador's arm is deformed. By Nature? by accident? or by Picasso? Mark 4/10. Must try harder.
Given the proven value of life classes in the training of young artists, it is appalling to discover that Pete Panse, a respected and talented art teacher, has been suspended from his job at Middletown High School, New York, for having merely suggested that some of his more advanced students join a life class and draw naked models! It is difficult to imagine the gopher-brained ignorance of that gang of philistines which comprises Middletown High School's board of governors.
To read the full story by Brian Yoder and to sign an online petition on behalf of Pete Panse, click the title link. Go on. Maybe we can help.


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