The Emergent Subject: Furies of War

Sept. 20, 2017
Drawing from life, but not as you know it. 

Bookings now open.

Ten-week course, The Emergent Subject: Furies of War considers a vast array of images in response to the subject of war and human conflict, both in its historical and contemporary contexts.

Working from the lithe, moving figure, as well as an array of other sources, such as epic poetry, personal testimonies, press clippings, audio diaries, original works of art, film and photography, students will explore the enduring, endlessly fascinating and always urgent subject of war, becoming attuned to its ethical and representational challenges, as much as expressive possibilities.


Mackenzie, Dancer and Choreographer, Power in Motion 2011

Among the most impassioned of subjects in the western tradition — Massacre of the Innocents, Battle of Ten Naked Men, Rape of the Sabine Women, Liberty Leading the People —artists have for centuries grappled with its daunting visual, emotional and psychological complexities as well as the inherent difficulty of translating the raw energy of animate human bodies into rhythmic (though essentially inanimate) works of art. Close study of a repertory of human forms arranged in timed, choreographed sequences, will be an important component of the course. The use of live models of rare power and range, marks a departure from the more familiar, sustained poses of the life-class; students will become adept and watchful when recording the dynamic patterns and relationships that emerge.


Laura Footes (student), Syrian War Casualties, 2016


Johännes de Frankfordia (active 1470-1501), Battle of the Nudes after an engraving by Antonio Pollaiuolo, woodcut, 427 x 612mm, The British Museum


Georgina Bennet (student), Power in Motion, 2007


To sketch the observed moving human body, attentive to form, receptive to patterns of motion and space, demands strategies — overlaid marks, gestural economies — that are by their very nature, interpretative. The ‘emergent subject’ is the outcome of a reading that starts with observed reality but quickly becomes a kind of conversation between mark, perception, memory and imagination. The challenge, then, is a reading that is rigorous yet remains open long enough to allow the subject to emerge. 

Anne Diego, student  

The class will gain privileged access to important London collections, among them, the Prints & Drawings Study Room at the Courtauld Institute of Art, The National Gallery and Imperial War Museum. This face-to-face encounter with original works of art is another significant aspect of the course. Drawing on these sources, studies made in situ and from the life model, students will embark on a full-size, thoroughly considered, composition. 

Course tutor, Glenn Sujo makes use of a vast range of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary exemplars (a continually changing display of images laid out on tables), as well as slide, video and film presentations to enrich this exploration. Students will be introduced to cinematographic images of war including La Grande Illusion, All Quiet on theWestern Front and Night and Fog, as well as the graphic works of Francisco Goya, Otto Dix, Charlotte Salomon and William Kentridge, among others.

A broaden repertory of marks and an economy of mostly monochrome graphic materials – pencil, charcoal, conté carré - are encouraged at the outset. Students will extend this range in later weeks to include wet processes and prepared papers.


Donatello (1386 –1466), Cantoria, Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, 1430s

(Above) Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, Il Guercico (1591–1666), Cupid restraining Mars, c. 1640, pen and ink on paper
227 x 188mm, Courtauld Institute Galleries


Otto Dix (Germany, 1891 – 1969), Verwundeter (Wounded soldier, Autumn 1916), plate 6 from the suite Der Krieg, 1924, etching and aquatint, 197 x 290 mms, Karl Nierendorf Verlag, The British Museum


Jonathan Silverman (student), The Emergent Subject, 2011


David Bomberg (1890–1957), Study for In the Hold, c.1914, charcoal on paper, 548 x 654 mm, Tate


Lorenzo Ghiberti(1378-1455), Study for the Flagellation, North doors, The Baptistry, Florence, ca. 1416-19/20, open and bister on paper


Francisco Goya y Lucientes, (1746-1828), Con razon o sin ella (Rightly or wrongly), from the suite Desastres de la Guerra, etching and acquatint, 150 x 209 mm, The British Museum


Other Testimonials

It was as a result of this course that I started making large-scale drawings and paintings as well as prints. Glenn is very knowledgeable about paper preparation, using wet and dry media, joining and mounting large sheets in his own practice. My large-scale drawings and paintings need refinement and I think Glenn's guidance will be a help. 

Oliver McConnie, student  

Glenn Sujo introduced me to the poetry of movement, the power of suggestion and the tension between abstraction and representation, the weight and vitality of mark-making. Then in my studio I would take these lessons into my own practice and start building my own compositions, looking out towards the contemporary art world. 

Laura Footes, student


Biographical note

Glenn Sujo is an artist and educator whose work reflects a commitment to the expressive, analytical, symbolic and imaginative possibilities of drawing. He has lectured extensively in art colleges and universities in Britain, USA and Israel. Awarded the Wingate post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2010, Sujo was appointed G.F.Watts Associate Artist in 2013. He is author of numerous essays, including Legacies of Silence: The Visual Arts and Holocaust Memory (Imperial War Museum, London, 2001) and Jankel Adler: Tireless Invention (Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, 2018). Recent exhibitions of his work include: Lines of Enquiry, Kettles Yard, Cambridge and A Cabinet of Drawings, Northumbria University Art Gallery (2006) and Anatomies, Studies from the Human Skeleton, Eton College, Windsor (2014)

To book a place on this course click here