Project Two – Research point: Foreshortening

Foreshortening = ‘The correct depiction in perspective of a single figure or object or part thereof in relation to its distance from the eye of the viewer. Foreshortening has been discussed in treatises and taught in art schools since the Renaissance.‘ Oxford Art Online [Accessed 26 July 2015]

Me in the mirror (different media):

Stefan513593 - project 2 - foreshortening

Stefan513593 – project 2 – foreshortening

I tried several poses to get more acquainted with the self portrait drawing. Actually I never done this before. Measuring yourself in a mirror got quite tricky. For the third one I got inspired by the figure works from Alberto Giacometti.


Some images where artists build strongly on foreshortening for particular effects.

  • Andrea Mantegna
    ‘Il Cristo morto (Lamentation over the dead Cristo)‘, around 1480. Pinacoteca di Brera
Andrea Mantegna - IL Cristo morto - 1480

Andrea Mantegna – IL Cristo morto – 1480

As this considered as one of the most famous examples for foreshortening, it is still not correct in proportions: the feet should have been much larger in reality. It is said that the artist reduced the size of the feet in order not to obscure the view on the corpse.


  • Foreshortening can be used to reflect a certain reality of just to to enhance (or not enhance like the example of Mantegna) certain parts of the body.
  • It seems to me like looking through a camera with at different focal lenses: wide, normal or tele By that the dimensions of body parts are significantly impacted, leaving the question what is reality. Means drawing from life is the best I can do.
  • Drawing myself in a mirror was quite a pain in the neck. Finding a relaxing pose, looking into the mirror and drawing in parallel. Always some parts are hidden through my drawing hand of slight changes in my pose occured. I am wondering how other artists did manage this comfortably.

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