realist art deco nude graphite pencil drawing

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Cleopatra – 23-02-24

More than Cubism and Roundism

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Cleopatra – 23-02-24’ refers to a work under the same name I made back in 2018.  That year I started my ‘Out of Egypt’ series and in retrospective I can see it wasn’t without a reason. Art Deco is on my mind for quite some time now under which flag I can show more. Cubism is very fine and I even forged my own style ‘Roundism’ out of it but I want more. Egyptian art I consider a big and heavy precursor to Art Deco. Obviously the latter was influenced directly after the discovery of Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb. Surely, those Egyptians had style and swag. This drawing I plan to serve as a bridge between great artistic eras divided by oceans of time.


The reference picture was from the 1920s I believe and shows hefty quantities of light and dark. Also called ‘chiaroscuro’ the phenomenon could be characterized by abrupt shifts in tonal values. Through these a certain dramatic effect is created; meat for the beast I’d say! Next, why Cleopatra? Something occured to me, Lawrence Alma Tadema’s paintings of the ancient world served as an inspirational source for Hollywood. Without his artworks movies like Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille and Gladiator wouldn’t have been created.

Back to Egypt

At the start of the drawing I planned for some pareidolia effects. Then I saw the head of the Sphinx in her groin. However, I decided not to follow that trail. It was only very faint and proportions weren’t that ideal. The rugged carpet the model is leaning on wasn’t inspirational either. All of a sudden the drawing of 2018 popped into my head. From there it wasn’t difficult to create a small Egyptian world around her, inclusive a viper. Has she been bitten yet?

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Graphite pencil (Faber Castell Pitt Graphite Matt pencil 14B) drawing on Talens Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm)

Artist: Corné Akkers

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