Minimal Holbein

Lately I've been spending a little time looking at Old Master drawings. I've been especially impressed to see some of Hans Holbein the Younger's sketches. This isn't unexpected, since his oils typically send me into fits of ecstasy. I have been a little surprised though, at the very minimal approach he often takes to modelling forms. Rather than fully working out the dimensionality of the head, like many other artists do, he simply applies the lightest possible wash of charcoal to make the barest suggestions of a few forms, and allows the viewer to imagine the rest. But they are _exactly_ the right suggestions, and it succeeds brilliantly. Of course, this approach makes sense because they were presumably quick sketches from life, but they I find they stand very well on their own. The particular drawing I was looking at this morning was one of the preparatory sketches for the portrait of Jakob Meyer. I can't seem to find this particular one online (he made several sketches), but his sketch of Sir Thomas More is similarly economical; Although he creates a very strong outline of the head, see how little information he actually provides within the face itself, for instance the forms of his right cheek and jaw.