Cast Drawing #5: the Male Head


This session of Cast Drawing is dedicated to one of my favorite pieces by the divine Michelangelo, the bust of Brutus.

Michelangelo created this workaround 1540-1550, a decade or two after the fall of the Florentine Republic by hand of Pope Clemente VII, who was a Medici and intended to return the control of the city to his Family. Michelangelo created this work to express his protest against all tyranny, but more specifically, against the Papal tyranny.

The man portrayed in this bust is particularly handsome, and his gaze particularly intense, the strong chiaroscuro effect in this photo highlights the bold sculpting technique of this unfinished masterpiece, making it a great subject to copy, giving us occasion to practice drawing facial features, facial expressions, tonal rendering and use charcoal and chalk on toned paper


  • A couple of sheets of Gray or tan toned paper,
  • charcoal in sticks (Nitram is an excellent product) and pencils, in medium and soft gradations,
  • white chalk in pencil or sticks,
  • kneaded eraser,
  • sand paper to sharpen the charcoal, that’s it!

roberto osti
roberto osti
Roberto Osti teaches figure drawing and human anatomy for artists at the New York Academy of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Formally trained as a medical illustrator before becoming a fine artist, Osti has contributed his work to many science and art publications. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Europe and the United States. He is the author of Basic Human Anatomy (2016), an art instruction best seller and classic reference book. His latest book , Dynamic Human Anatomy has been released in March 2021.