Study of a Seated Nude Male as a Barbary-Pirate Captive, after Hogarth, a graphite pencil drawing

Captive, after Hogarth


Male nude figure

2H, HB, 2B, and 4B graphite pencils on white Canson 50-pound (74-G) acid-free paper

January 2008

Dimensions, image and paper: 6-7/8 inches (17.5 cm) high by 5-3/8 inches (13.6 cm) wide

Developed and drawn, as an exercise, from a black-and-white-chalk sketch of a seated nude male academy figure as a Barbary-pirate captive by British artist William Hogarth (1697-1764), who ran the first effective drawing academy in Britain, in St Martin's Lane. (The Barbary pirates preyed on merchant ships in the southern Mediterranean Sea. Their cruel treatment of their captives, who often had no hope of freedom, was notorious throughout the Western world.) I was attracted by the fascinating back muscles of the figure and by the emotional power of the pose. In my drawing, I tilted the head a little lower than Hogarth, to add a greater sense of despair to the pose. I added binding ropes to make more clear the model's situation as a captive, where Hogarth's study had none yet. And I removed the original model's 1700s-era ponytail, to allow the drawing a more timeless quality.

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