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The Artistic Anatomy of Trees (Dover Art Instruction) Paperback – June 1, 1965


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Art Instruction
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 2 edition (June 1, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486214753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486214757
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Monumental book . . . Mr. Vicat Cole is a born teacher."—Contemporary Review
"Mr. Vicat Cole's ability as a landscape painter is well known, and he unites to his executive talents the qualifications of an accomplished teacher."—Connoisseur
"The name of the author is itself a guarantee that the subject is adequately treated. It is handled in a systematic and lucid way, which the novice . . . can follow with ease."—Studio
For years greatly admired and widely used, this excellent text by one of Britain's foremost art instructors has achieved the status of a classic in its field. The author, also a noted landscape painter, offers complete and accurate instruction in painting and drawing trees to all serious artists—beginner or advanced, amateur or professional. Its extremely comprehensive and detailed coverage has earned this volume a permanent place in the libraries of landscape painters, students, and teachers.
Every aspect of trees and how to depict them—in any style—is covered with unusual clarity and precision; problems of balancing tree groups, relations of light and shade, delicacy and weight, distance, sky apertures and their patterns, curves and straight lines in tree branches, tree color, the influence of special environmental factors (age, frost and snow, wind, moonlight), the effects of bud arrangements on the anatomy of trees, etc. Of special value is the very thorough and lucid analysis of tree anatomy: the proportion of boughs, branches, and twigs; the positioning of leaves on twigs; the form, texture, and color of leaves; leaf patterns; flower arrangement; stipules, bracts, buds, scales, spines, seedlings, the bark, and all the other essential details of structure. Specific information is given for each tree discussed: oaks, sycamores, willows, pines, maples, etc.; abstract and inaccurate generalizations are avoided. Nearly 500 illustrations by the author accompany the text, demonstrating all the anatomical features discussed. In addition, there are 48 full-page plates: magnificent landscape paintings and drawings by Giorgione, Rubens, Rembrandt, Van der Neer, Watteau, Hobbema, Turner, Gainsborough, Dupré, and many others, showing their compositional use of trees, their details in rendering, and similar material.
Unabridged and unaltered republication of second edition.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this reference book to all artists, what ever level of expertise they might have.
M. D. Stanley
We must therefore remind ourselves to ask why things are the way they are, and by careful and humble observation appreciate what we are looking at.
Bruce Boatner
I discovered this great work by accident, in some third rate college library next door, Universidad Sagrado Corazon.
antigonum cajan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Boatner on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many years ago I learned a very subtle, but critical lesson from one of the grand old masters of oil painting, David Leffel. The first impulse of any artist is to ask "How do I _____?". How do I paint a vase? How do I paint a tree? How do I paint water? How do I get my work into the galleries?, etc. Upon careful scrutiny it may be observed that by asking "How do I", all sensitivity toward the subject is replaced by a desire to control.

It is ironic that many artists so crave adulation and success that there is little energy left over to excel at their art. Those who learn to paint well have little competition, because there are relatively few people that paint well. We must therefore remind ourselves to ask why things are the way they are, and by careful and humble observation appreciate what we are looking at. The "How" cannot fail to manifest once a certain depth of observation is attained.

A book like this helps because it makes us aware that the shape of every tree - trunk, limb and branch - have written into them a history of survival, of harsh winters, damaging winds, competition for sunlight, and even a respect for their neighbors. A little patience yields a new perspective and appreciation for these large, silent denizens of our planet, and an unmistakable improvement in subsequent landscapes recognized by artist and patron alike.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book may not be gorgeous, but it goes into excellent detail about the structure of tree branches, shapes, buds, fruits and leaves. Everything from the shape of branches in a windswept oak to the way the leaves and flowers are structured is covered for flowering leaf trees. Conifers are not covered. The composition of groups of trees as well as examples from artwork are here. The plates are rather hazy and old, as befits this classic work, but it still is a standard for European trees.
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72 of 94 people found the following review helpful By jean cameron on March 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in becoming a botanical illustrator this book will be a welcome addition to your library. The charming illustrations and discussion of botanical details will be most useful to you. If however you are interested in an all-around book dealing with various types of trees and ways to use them in your landscape artwork you will be disappointed.
The book dates from 1915 and is in black and white, which in itself makes it less useful than one in color would be. Even so it could have been much more generally useful to the painter if it had concentrated on identification of various trees and their shapes, with textual descriptions of their color.
Instead it begins with small pictures of paintings by the 'masters' which have included trees, and then proceeds to discussions of composition. Later chapters do indeed have illustrations of several trees, and details abound. These ensure that there can be no excuse for the reader to misrepresent the joining of twigs and so on, of various species. The last 40% or so of the book gives the most minute botanical details of a number of varieties of trees.
There are useful illustrations and text in the book, and it is inexpensive enough to make me willing to keep it on my shelf, but there are books on drawing trees that are far more helpful to the painter.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Kwasnik on March 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some good quotes:
"Often we see trees which seem to not to have a true balance. To see them in nature is one thing, to live with them in a picture is another - and undesirable. To give them an insecure appearance in our drawing, and to be unaware of having done so is inexcuseable."

Much information is given to prevent this type of error.

"When the roots show above the ground they serve as it were for a stand, and the trunk holds itself the better for them."

" Massed trees afford an opportunity for strength of colour and simplicity of tone. ..., and need not be frittered away into bits of light and dark or oddments of colour."

The hundreds of pictures in this book are in black and white but does not hinder the all the great information given.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Backmann on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I thought the 1st 3 chapters were excellent, the remainder of the book could have probably been condensed into another 3 chapters but instead goes on for much longer than that and begins to get more into botany than art. Still, extremely informative and the 1st 3 chapters alone are worth the price of the book. Excellent plates and illustrations give visual references to mentioned material. A must read for anyone interested in landscapes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Me Here on January 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written in a time when good draughtsmanship was the basis of western art practice. It is therefore dependent on the same idea that impels one to study human anatomy. There are no step by step instructions on how to draw trees. You are expected to study and learn. This book is what it says it is - a detailed examination of the structure of vegetation. Useless for the beginner. An excellent reference for the professional. The authors own drawings are exquisite.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Shen on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
A wonderful landscape book that tells you everything you need to know in a very truthful way compared to other landscape books that I know. It is a right book for any serious artist and Would-be artist to enhance his or her knowledge in this field for if their pursue is to learn a solid fundamentals. I have read throught the book and have followed the guidance to observe reality with what it teaches and I have benefit a lot from it. You won't be disappointed with the contenes that it has offered.
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