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Click here for larger image of Nude Girl seen from the back with right leg raisedClick for larger image

Nude Girl seen from the back with right leg raised by Henry Tonks


Tonks was one of the most influential drawing teachers in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain and developed a linear system of drawing which relied on contour rather than modelling. Trained as a surgeon, he believed that underlying anatomical structure should be visible though a rendering of the angles, planes and junctions of the body in strong line. The model was often placed in short poses to encourage swift work which seized only the essentials of the figure, and the process of drawing was used as a method of exploring form rather than as a route to producing a polished 'academy' life study. Tonks' own life drawings reflect these ideas. The artist was a regular visitor to the Russian Ballet in 1912 and his biographer Joseph Hone believed that this drawing of a ballet dancer, which is one of a series, was inspired by these visits.

Lit: Emma Chambers, 'Henry Tonks: Art and Surgery', exhib. Cat. Strang Print Room, UCL, 2002
Lynda Morris, 'Henry Tonks and the 'Art of Pure Drawing'', exhib. Cat., Norwich School of Art, 1985
Artist:Henry Tonks
Artwork type:drawing
Material:black and white chalks on brown paper
Measurements:354 x 253 mm
Technique:drawing
Date:1912
Culture:British
Rights owner: The Artist's Family
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:Slade School of Art

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