This is one example of many black and white chalk drawings from life by Prud'hon. I believe they are on the ultimate level of awesome when it comes to life drawing. It is amazing how he is able to handle the soft lights blending into mid-tones and darks which allow him to describe amazingly subtle modulations in form. This ability to describe the nuance of form and thereby capture and make a statement about the figure you see before you is what life drawing is all about.
What may not be apparent to the untrained eye is how he uses the tone of the paper as a step in the value scale. If you think of a value scale, going from light to dark, in the middle would be a tone darker than the white chalk but lighter than the black chalk. If you look at this drawing, he did not blend the white chalk *into* the dark chalk but consistently left some blank or paper-tone space between where the white chalk would blend into the dark chalk. This discipline with values is what gives the figure the sense of weight, volume, and solidity and makes these drawings by him worthwhile to study.
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