It was a lot of fun coming up with a contemporary take on old fashioned icon images. I used black pen with a range of nib sizes mixed with coloured pencils.
Although badly worn and in part dubiously restored, this painting still has impact. Tintoretto was a very fast painter, favouring a dark ground. Sadly, many of his paintings are badly deteriorated. The picture above is much clearer than the painting itself. I enjoyed drawing from this because the composition is very complex. As you scan it more figures seem to appear out of the ether.
Working from a pair of paintings lends the copying experience an intensity. Like working from Veronese’s “Allegory of Love” set, working from the El Greco pair means you can compare and reassess throughout. Drawing the second “Agony in the Garden” was easier in many ways. I had a clearer sense of the composition. This didn’t stop me wildly underestimating the width of the angel again though! Fantastic experience of copying from one of the most idiosyncratic masters.
When you find a new painting in the National Gallery it’s a good idea to sketch it fast! I was very excited to see that this El Greco version has been lent by a private collection and is hung next to the gallery’s own version of “The Agony in the Garden”. El Greco is a complicated painter, taking Tintoretto’s school of composition and running with it. Always an exciting artist to copy. If you’re near the National Gallery this week run in and see this painting before it returns to its collection.