My second day in Florence, I was stumbling about my new surroundings with jet lag in my head and surprisingly, I saw a familiar face.
I recognized beyond a doubt, a model for at least 2 paintings I’d seen in art magazines here in the States. When I saw him in real life for the first time in the Altrarno of Florence, he was sitting under the front eaves of a church between San Frediano and the Ponte Vecchio about two blocks from the flat we were renting.
After I lived in Florence for a year, I added my own painting of Hans to the big photo book he carried of all the artworks he’d sat for. He’d show up to model with his plastic water bottle full of red wine and a fountain of interesting stories from his life. He spoke several languages fluently, had recently been featured in a big production music video, and had been friends with an iconic Italian musician.
I was working with Rebecca Harp in her studio at that time, and we painted side by side. This is a common practice as painters can share model fees and use everyone's time to the best advantage.
I also have a sketch of a fellow art student, a French woman named Lucie, that I know modeled for several artists including Toby Wright (Monaco), who was studying and teaching at the Florence Academy of Art while I was in Florence.
I didn't see his paintings until years after I had done my drawing. You can see that Lucie has a striking profile accented with hoop earrings! Toby and I chose the same basic pose.
Learn more about Toby here: Toby Wright Fine Art
While I was in Florence in 2007 (ish) on a painting trip, I rented studio space from friend, Rebecca Harp in the Piazza della Republicca in the heart of Florence(Rebecca Harp).
While there, I looked at the model ad board in the studio and got the idea for a painting of this young woman. I wanted to paint a version of Lucretia, loosely inspired by the Rembrandt painting below.
The studio was a great place to make friends, and Harry Durdin-Robertson, who happened to be a studio regular at the time, said he'd join me in painting "the pose". Of course, we paint from slightly different angles (so that we have elbow room and conceptual freedom). Harry was just starting out at the time, so check out some of his new work https://www.durdinrobertson.com/about/
It isn’t unusual to see pieces based on the same models by different artists. Some models, like the previously mentioned Hans, become legendary in artistic circles. You might find yourself hoping you GET to paint “so-and-so”!
Thanks to Toby and Harry for letting me use images of their work.