The Emo Perspective

An international, enthusiastic group of twelve, including myself, enrolled in Liz Steel’s urban sketching course.  On day two of the course, we visited Emo (pronounced A-mo) Villa, in the Vicenza area of northern Italy for the day’s urban sketching assignment.

Emo tour guide

While Monica, our lovely tour guide was giving us the history of the building, I did a quick sketch to capture and familiarise myself with this very long building with eleven archways on either side of the central main house.

Emo pen drawing
An extremely long, grand villa with 11 archways on both sides of main dwelling.

Frescoes adorn most of the inside walls. The “holy” frescoes hang on the north walls above the door in each room.  Many frescoes were painted to create the illusion of making the room look bigger than it actually is. For example, painting three dimensional columns, windows and having legs/feet hanging off balconies.

emo fresco grand
This scene is two-dimensional but painted so it looks like the columns are three-dimensional – but they’re not.

In one room, the walls are covered with “Grotesque” art. Grotesque comes from the word, “grotta”, meaning “cave”. Apparently, the ground collapsed in front of the Coliseum in Italy and the men that disappeared into the ground, discovered a large underground room full of this Grotesque style of art. It was a very common art form in the 15th and 16th centuries. I love this image on one of the Emo Villa walls, the shape and the sense of movement with the necks.

Emo Grotesque art

The walls in one room was full of frescoes depicting artists working on their various crafts.  It impressed me that all the artists were females.

emo frsco women

After our guided tour, we observed Liz drawing Emo Villa, which was designed by Andrea Palladio. Palladio is the only architect that an architectural style has been named after. Other architectural styles have been named after eras, not a person. Palladio means “Protector of the Arts”. Palladio respected Roman tradition and his buildings strictly adhered to symmetry.

emo demonstration

The sketching assignment’s focus was on perspective, drawing vanishing points but not worrying if they go off the page. I’m frustrated that I didn’t take a photo of the end of the building because I am quite certain there was a statue at the far left too. This would have further magnified the perspective and added an element of drama to the painting. I would think that some of the statue would have been above the roof line, which, once again, I think would add drama to the picture.

emo drawing1
Drawing on site using a Lami ink pen and water colour. Some of my lines depicting vanishing points are visible. Drawing perspectives is tricky business! :-/
emo drawing
Finished the painting of Emo Villa back at the hotel.
emo perspective
Photo of the Emo perspective I was trying to draw.

Thank you for reading this post.  I’d love to hear from you.  Have you tried to draw an Italian villa? Do you struggle drawing perspectives? Does your brain try to override your eye?

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