Uzlaşma Akrilik Tablo

Akrilik boya ile yaptığım bu tabloda farklı renklerin uyumsuzluğu ile genelde ortama hakim olan bir rengin uyumunu yakalamaya çalıştım. Bu her zaman karşı karşıya olduğumuz, birbiriyle çatışan düşüncelere benziyor. Aralarında bir ayrım yapamadığımız zaman önceliklerimize odaklanmamız ve en doğru kararı verebilmemiz kendi içimizdeki uzlaşmalara bağlı. Böyle bir uzlaşmayı yakalayabildiğimiz zaman daha huzurlu ve canlı oluyoruz.



Tuval üzerine akrilik

35 x 50 cm


Gökşen Parlatan

İki Ağacın Hikayesi

İki Ağacın Hikayesi


Bugün bu tuvale başlarken boyaları aldım ve beni yönlendirmelerini istedim. Ortaya çıkan şeyi gördükçe sevmeye başladım. Sonra ben de bu yaratıma dahil olarak oluşmakta olan desene katkılarda bulundum.

İki ağacın ortaya çıkması, güneşin önünü kapatmaları ve yapraklarıyla aradaki uzaklığı kapatmaya çalışmaları izlemeye değerdi.

Sanırım şu anda son halini aldı, o yüzden ismini de artık koyarak beğeninize sunuyorum.

Sevgiler, görüşmek üzere !

İki Ağacın Hikayesi

25 x 35 cm

Tuval üzerine akrilik

Gökşen Parlatan

Tale Of Two Trees

When I started this canvas today, I took the paints and asked them to guide me. When I saw what came out, I started to love it. Then I contributed to the emerging pattern by being involved in this creation.

It was worth watching as two trees emerged, blocking the sun and trying to cover the distance with their leaves.

I think it has taken its final form now, so I am presenting it to your liking by putting its name now.


Gökşen Parlatan

Rüya İçinde Rüya – Akrilik Soyut Çalışma


En son yaptığım resmi paylaşmak istedim.

Rüya İçinde Rüya / Dream Within A Dream

Kanvas üzerine akrilik boya

35 x 50 cm


Bu resimde geometrik desenlerle kutsal uyumu yakalamaya çalıştım. Heeşeyin doğada bir uyum içinde olmasından ve hiçbirşeyin tesadüf eseri olmamasından yola çıkarak düşündüm. Birbirinin içine geçen daireler bazen çicekleri bazen de yaprakları oluşturuyor. Dolayısıyla rüya içinde başka bir rüya görmeye benzettim bunu da.

Mavi Ejderha /Blue Dragon #workinprogress


Çok sevimli bir deniz hayvanını yağlıboyayla çalışıyorum.

Adı Blue Dragon

Zaman içinde tabi ki bazı değişiklikler olacak. Ama çok güzel bir tasarımı vardı ve hemen onun resmini yapmak istedim.



Seramik figür boyama

Merhaba arkadaşlar Bu videoda önceden yapmış olduğumuz seramik figürü akrilik boya ile boyuyoruz.

Siz de farklı renkler kullanarak boyama yapabilirsiniz. Keyifli izlemeler!

Drawing techniques by Leonardo Da Vinci

“A good artist simplifies, deconstructs, reinterprets, and understands his subject matter.” 

9 Sketching Exercises Leonardo Da Vinci Practiced To Achieve Artistic Mastery

Leonardo da Vinci needs no introduction from me.

Nearly everything that can be said about him has already been said…

Some claim he was a superhuman genius polymath with an IQ of 210, five hundred years ahead of his time.

Others say that he was an opportunistic idea thief, only modifying the designs of the better inventors that came before him.

A few even believe that he was a prophet and left hidden symbols, codes and upside down animal shapes in his paintings (that’s a topic for another post…or not).

But whatever you think of Leonardo da Vinci’s place in histories’ list of top IQs, there’s one thing that’s agreed upon by both the conspiracists and skeptics alike.

The man was a damn good artist.

So damn good, in fact, many art historians (and artists) have brandished him with the title of ‘the most technically gifted artist that’s ever walked the earth.’

Not bad, eh?

The Da Vinci Talent Code

While it would be foolish to argue that Da Vinci’s artistic talents were not in some way down to his genetics – i.e. some people have better visuospatial cognition than others – it would be just as foolish to argue that his environment did not play a huge role either.

Leonardo was born an illegitimate child (bastard), which made his career options limited, to say the least. He was not allowed entry into universities or to continue in his father’s noble profession as a notary.

Rather than simply accept this exclusion, he decided to use it is as creative fuel in an intellectual rebellion that would go on to shape the rest of his life.

So what I can’t go to university, they don’t know everything anyway. I would rather learn from nature and experience than some boring professor.

As a young boy, Leonardo began taking paper from his father’s office, which was very expensive at the time, and go out into the woods to make drawings of plants and animals.

It was these drawings that Leonardo’s father showed to his artist friend Andrea del Verrocchio who, at the age of about fourteen, Leonardo joined as an apprentice artist.

The bad hand society had dealt Da Vinci, it could be argued, was one of his greatest gifts. It gave him an uncomfortable chip on his shoulder that spurred him to challenge constantly and surpass the commonly held ideas of groupthink.

“I have removed the skin from a man who was so shrunk by illness that the muscles were worn down and remained in a state like a thin membrane…”

In the book The Talent Code, the author, Daniel Coyle delves deeply into the science of what makes people like Leonardo “tick.”

“It seems almost impudent to presume that we can draw useful lessons from the Renaissance—the hotbed of all hotbeds. After all, we’ve been conditioned to think of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli et. al. as quasi-divinities—the ultimate natural geniuses of the art world.

But, in fact, every one of those “divinities” were once seven-year-old kids, learning skills just like any other kid. While we obviously can’t recreate the combination of cultural/religious/historical forces that set the stage for the Renaissance (not to mention parents who enjoy sending off their seven-year-old to work full time as a painter’s apprentice instead of school), but we can do something just as powerful. We can look at the behaviors and methods—at the combination of deep practice, ignition, and master coaching—that systematically built some of the finest skill-circuits the world has ever seen.”

Coyle discovered that when we practice a skill, an insulator-like substance called myelin thickens around our neural circuitry, which in turn makes us more talented.

More Myelin = More Talent

The type of practice one engages in is the determinant of how quickly our myelin sheaths thicken around our neural circuits.

Good practice, Coyle explains, must test us and stretch our abilities right up to the edge of frustration. Talent without the motivation to ceaselessly improve will never lead to mastery.

So that brings us to the question…

How did Leonardo practice his art?

What drawing exercises did he use to 

stretch’ his abilities? 

As a fellow artist and somewhat of a Da Vinci nerd, I’ve searched through countless Da Vinci notebooks and biographies for these answers.

Listed below, are the results of that search.

Da Vinci and his students used the following 9 drawing exercises repeatedly. They are meant to challenge you and stretch you.

They are not intended for the creation of pretty pictures. They are exercises. Training. Practice. Work. Treat them as such.

1. Draw Moving Objects

There were no cameras or Internet back in the renaissance, so Da Vinci didn’t get his subject matter from Google images. He drew from life.

But Da Vinci being Da Vinci took this ‘drawing from life’ a step further than most. He drew water, storms, birds, running horses, faces in the midst of angry outbursts and groups of laughing men.

Here’s his French biographer, Serge Bramly, on the rapidity Leonardo cultivated by such practice:

“Observing and drawing (and imagining or reflecting) were operations that very soon for Leonardo became much the same thing. Hand, eye, and brain became coordinated through determined training. He gradually turned himself into a sort of living, thinking, and inventive camera (he wrote of “becoming like a mirror” – an intelligent and critical mirror). Drawing seems to have been almost second nature to him. He saw to perfection, then judged and reproduced the subject, seemingly without an intermediary between retina and paper: his thought was formed in the movement of his hand as his hand interpreted his vision. He could work so fast that one sometimes feels one is looking at a form of shorthand.”

Because we cannot depict every detail of the world around us, good drawings, one could argue, are simply the result of a series of decisions made by the artist about what to include, and what to leave out.

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary,” Picasso famously said.

There is no better way of training yourself to eliminate the unnecessary and notice the most important elements of a particular object, than by drawing it while it’s on the move.

Da Vinci, knowing this, instructs fellow artists to:

“Keep a sharp lookout, ffor figures in movement, in the streets, in the squares, in the countryside, and note down the main lines quickly: that is to say, putting an O for the head and straight or bent lines for the arms and the same for legs and trunk; then when you get home, look back at your sketches and give them finished form.”

leonardo da vinci drawing of cats

Cats drawn from life

Some of Da Vinci’s anatomicaldrawings are still used in many medical schools, as references to this day. His study of the human spine is one of the best anatomical drawings ever created.

Leonardo da Vinci anatomy study of human spine

Study of the human spine

The astonishing attention to detail Leonardo possessed wasn’t a gift from God, rather a skill cultivated by drawing exercises just like this one found in a note he left himself:

“Tomorrow make some silhouettes out of cardboard in various forms and throw them from the top of the terrace through the air; then draw the movements each makes at the different stages of its descent.”

birds in flight leonardo da vinci

Birds drawn in mid-flight

Do as Leonardo instructs. Go to a bustling place and make quick notes of the people going about their business. Go to a park and draw the birds or the ripples of a lake. Watch a gymnast or a wrestler on YouTube – without pressing pause. Draw moving objects.

2. Copy From The Master

Leonardo was an assistant artist to Andrea Del Verrocchio for roughly ten years. Back then, artists were not so precious about their work as they are now.

It was quite common for assistants to learn their trade by painting small sections of their master’s paintings such as shrubbery or sky and work their way up.

Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea del Verrocchio

Da Vinci’s angel on the left; Verrocchio’s on the right

However, if their painting style were too incongruent with their master’s then the piece would look wrong (think Van Gogh doing the scenery in the Mona Lisa). In order to avoid this problem, students would spend a good deal of their time copying their master’s work. Not only was copying the master great practice, it was good for business. Verrocchio’s style is very present in Leonardo’s early paintings.

Leonardo, later in life, would often instruct his own pupils to copy his drawings, in the same way that he had copied Verrocchio’s.

“The artist ought first to exercishis hand by copying drawings from the hand of a good master. And having acquired that practice, under the criticism of his master, he should next practice drawing objects in relief of a good style, following the rules which will presently be given.”

Recently it was discovered that while Leonardo worked on his most famous painting, The Mona Lisa, a student of his, with his own canvas, copied along with him; stroke for stroke.

Both are highly finished paintings of extremely high quality but if a picture says a thousand words, this comparison is an essay on just how skillful a painter Leonardo was.

mona lisa and copy comparison

Apprentice vs. Master

“The youth should first learn perspective, then the proportions of objects. Then he may copy from some good master, to accustom himself to fine forms. Then from nature, to confirm by practice the rules he has learnt.”

If you’d like to master color theory, you should watch this 2-hour course on The Foundations of Color by Professor Mary Jane Begin from Rhode Island School of Design. You can watch it for free, as well as her other 9 artistic mastery courses in this 10-day cancel anytime trial.

Choose four Leonardo drawings that look difficult and copy them in the same medium in which they were drawn. After this, draw from life incorporating the ‘rules’ you have learned from this exercise.

Jon Brooks Leonrdo da Vinci mastercopies

My attempt at four Da Vinci master copies.

3. Play Perspective Games

The act of turning self-improvement into a game (gamification) is hugely popular nowadays. Whether you want to get fitter or learn a new language, there’s a gamified app that can fulfill your needs.

Leonardo, it probably won’t surprise you, was also a huge fan of gamification when it came to art. Perhaps he really was 500 years ahead of his time?

“When, Oh draughtsmen, you desire to find relaxation in games you should always practice such things as may be of use in your profession, by giving your eye good practice in judging accurately of the breadth and length of objects. Thus, to accustom your mind to such things, let one of you draw a straight line at random on a wall, and each of you, taking a blade of grass or of straw in his hand, try to cut it to the length that the line drawn appears to him to be, standing at a distance of 10 braccia; then each one may go up to the line to measure the length he has judged it to be. And he who has come nearest with his measure to the length of the pattern is the best man, and the winner, and shall receive the prize you have settled beforehand…such games give occasion to good practice for the eye, which is of the first importance in painting.”

He was constantly testing and stretching his visual perspective skills even when he wasn’t drawing. As Michelangelo said, “An artist paints with his brains, not his hands.”

Playing perspective games is an incredible drawing exercise. I have modified Leonardo’s approach into something slightly more practical but no less testing:

Take a ruler and mark off the exact number of centimes you estimate an object to be while standing 10 feet away from it. Challenge friends and family in a game. 

4. Draw Both The Divine And The Grotesque

While we now think of Da Vinci’s work as things of divine beauty, a few centuries ago, they were infamous for the exact opposite reason.

Leonardo da Vinci grotesque heads

A ‘grotesque’ man and woman

In the Victorian era all around Europe, these ‘grotesque’ heads, as they came to be known, were Leonardo’s most reproduced pieces of art.

Did he have some strange fascination with strange looking people?

If one were to read the work of Vasari, Leonardo’s earliest biographer, one might think so:

“Leonardo was so pleased whenever he saw a strange head or beard or hair of unusual appearance that he would follow such a person a whole day, and so learn him by heart, that when he reached home he could draw him as if he were present.”

Luckily, Da Vinci provides a hint at his reasons for producing these drawings in his notebooks. And in typical Da Vinci fashion, it’s rooted in artistic self-improvement:

“The painter should aim at universality, because there is a great want of self-respect in doing one thing well and another badly, as many do who study only the [rules of] measure and proportion in the nude figure and do not seek after variety; for a man may be well proportioned, or he may be fat and short, or tall and thin, or medium. And a painter who takes no account of these varieties always makes his figures on one pattern so that they might all be taken for brothers; and this is a defect that demands stern reprehension.”

Leonardo da Vinci drawing of old and young man

The old and the young

Da Vinci, the polymath that he was, saw no value in doing just one thing well. “The artist holds the universe in his mind,” he often wrote.

Drawing and painting were a self-sustaining curiosity factory for Da Vinci. His need to depict the world accurately drove him to study everything in it. And the conclusions he made were tested with the result of his finished work.

Do not doubt that Leonardo was thinking of the sinews and the nerves and the ligaments and the skeletons of the people he had dissected, while he was working on The Mona Lisa.

“Nor is the painter praiseworthy who does but one thing well, as the nude figure, heads, draperies, animals, landscapes or other such details, irrespective of other work; for there can be no mind so inept, that after devoting itself to one single thing and doing it constantly, it should fail to do it well.”

Draw obese people, slim people, muscular people, landscapes, strange animals, things you are not accustomed to drawing. It will make you better at drawing the things at which, you wish to excel.

Jon Brooks drawings anorexic, obese

My attempt at drawing figures with varying proportions.

If you consider yourself an amateur artist who needs some training on the fundamentals, I highly recommend Will Kemp’s Foundations of Drawing, you can watch the entire course now for free on with this free 10-day cancel anytime trial.

5. Fix Things In Your Mind Through Drawing

To illustrators and conceptual designers, the ability of being able to draw well from one’s head is essential. To Fine Art students, however, this practice has become somewhat of a lost art form.

This is a shame…

Do you really think Michelangelo had a model in every position in the exact right lighting as a reference for every person depicted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling?

Sistine chapel ceiling

A small section of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

And do you really think the model in The Mona Lisa posed for Leonardo for the seven years it’s estimated it took him to complete?

Of course not.

I’m sure if they could have worked from photographs and models they would have. But because they didn’t have that option, they were forced not to learn anatomy, lighting, and perspective, but to master it.

Renaissance artists internalized the visual alphabet and learned how to paint stories with it. They transcended copying and became creators.

“Creativity feeds on limitations.”

Leonardo would learn and test his ability to fix objects in his mind like this:

“When you want to know a thing you have studied in your memory proceed in this way: When you have drawn the same thing so many times that you think you know it by heart, test it by drawing it without the model; but have the model traced on flat thin glass and lay this on the drawing you have made without the model, and note carefully where the tracing does not coincide with your drawing, and where you find you have gone wrong; and bear in mind not to repeat the same mistakes. Then return to the model, and draw the part in which you were wrong again and again till you have it well in your mind.”

Repetition is an essential part of mastering any skill. No musician or athlete or surgeon or hairdresser or skateboarder could ever reach a high level without practicing the same drill over and over again.

Art is no different, and Da Vinci knew it. He too was a very accomplished lyre player. Perhaps he took the learning strategies he picked up from playing the lyre and applied them to art.

In the same way that a concert pianist will have C scales and D minor chords stored up in their head, ready to come out at a moments notice. Da Vinci had noses, and postures and animals up in his:

“If you want to acquire facility for bearing in mind the expression of a face, first make yourself familiar with a variety of [forms of] several heads, eyes, noses, mouths, chins and cheeks and necks and shoulders: And to put a case: Noses are of 10 types: straight, bulbous, hollow, prominent above or below the middle, aquiline, regular, flat, round or pointed. These hold good as to profile. In full face they are of 11 types; these are equal thick in the middle, thin in the middle, with the tip thick and the root narrow, or narrow at the tip and wide at the root; with the nostrils wide or narrow, high or low, and the openings wide or hidden by the point; and you will find an equal variety in the other details; which things you must draw from nature and fix them in your mind.”

Find a photograph of an object and copy it a few times. When you start feeling confident, try and draw it from your head. When finished, compare it to the photograph and make a note of the differences. Repeat until you can draw it from your head perfectly (or there about).

6. Draw In The Company Of Others

Many artists have no problem showing people their favorite finished pieces; few the processes that made them.

Creativity is a messy practice. The first drafts of the best novels are often ugly and the initial sketch an artist lays down on canvas, often uglier.

Leonardo urges us not only to embrace the uncomfortable feeling one gets when a drawing doesn’t go to plan, but to showcase it to the world:

“I say and insist that drawing in company is much better than alone, for many reasons. The first is that you would be ashamed to be seen behindhand among the students, and such shame will lead you to careful study. Secondly, a wholesome emulation will stimulate you to be among those who are more praised than yourself, and this praise of others will spur you on. Another is that you can learn from the drawings of others who do better than yourself; and if you are better than they, you can profit by your contempt for their defects, while the praise of others will incite you to farther merits.”

David kassan subway drawing

David Kassan drawing in a busy New York subway station

Good artists care more about the quality of their work than the frailty of their ego. Good artists are pragmatic. They view all setbacks and criticisms as opportunities and feedback to improve with:

“Certainly while a man is painting he ought not to shrink from hearing every opinion. For we know very well that a man, though he may not be a painter, is familiar with the forms of other men and very capable of judging whether they are hump backed, or have one shoulder higher or lower than the other, or too big a mouth or nose, and other defects; and, as we know that men are competent to judge of the works of nature, how much more ought we to admit that they can judge of our errors; since you know how much a man may be deceived in his own work.”

Find a family member or friend and ask them if they’ll watch you draw. Tell them that you’re bad at drawing in front of other people and you think the challenge of doing so will help advance your artistic skills. Ask them to pick out faults and problems with your drawing as you go. Nine times out of ten you will have already noticed the problem, but the one time you didn’t… that’s the lesson.

Have you ever heard of They are a huge online learning resource for every type of skillset you can imagine. I’ve used Lynda to learn how to code, master apps like photoshop and illustrator and get to grips with important artistic concepts like color theory, values, and perspective. If you’re unsatisfied with your artistic progress, I’d recommended you test out the Lynda free trial. You can always quit after your first art lesson if you don’t like it.

To see how Leonardo used mirrors to gain objectivity over his work see this article.

7. Draw Drapery

Leonardo spent countless hours in his apprentice days drawing and painting drapery. It teaches one the importance of patience, light values and structure like nothing else can.

An almost photographic drapery study by Leonardo

An almost photographic drapery study by Leonardo

Drawing drapery is just as challenging (if not more) as drawing a nude model. The added benefit is that drapery doesn’t move or charge by the hour.

Place a single colored blanket or curtain over a chair. Set up your light source so that it doesn’t constantly change and draw. Oh, and take your time…

“Many are they who have a taste and love for drawing, but no talent; and this will be discernible in boys who are not diligent and never finish their drawings with shading.”

8. Draw The Same Thing From Multiple Angles

I remember asking my old art teacher once, “Why is drawing from photographs, not as a good as drawing from life?” He replied, “Because you can’t look behind a photograph.”

I was young at the time and didn’t understand what he meant. Why would I want to look behind what I’m drawing? I’m only drawing the front. 

My art teacher, like Da Vinci, understood that a good artist doesn’t just copy.

A good artist simplifies, deconstructs, reinterprets, and understands his subject matter.

Many of the world’s greatest portrait painters openly admit that the better their personal connection with the person they’re drawing, the better the finished portrait will be.

Leonardo da Vinci anatomy study

Shoulder anatomy from multiple perspectives

Our eyes only see raw jumbled light. Our brain takes this light and sorts it out into objects with form and texture.

Drawing things from multiple angles makes our brains better interpreters of light.

Children draw what they think something looks like; amateur artists copy what they see; master artists draw what they understand.

Leonardo da Vinci study of head from multiple angles

Study of braided hair from multiple angles

Draw a person from multiple angles. Imagine you need to make a record of how they look but you have no camera at hand. Even though you’re using different viewpoints, there should be a basic likeness between them all.

9. Draw In Your Mind’s Eye

Leonardo wasn’t just an artist who could shade well and draw clean lines. He placed just as much emphasis on the composition and content of his art as he did its technical rendering.

Leonardo da Vinci Virgin Mary and child

Leonardo’s cartoon of Virgin and Child with Saint Anne

The triangular composition, the eye lines, and the curved centreline which extends into a finger pointing to the heavens, were all carefully chosen to tell a story by Leonardo.

If you’d like to learn more about composition, you can watch this fantastic Developing a Composition course by Professor Mary Jane Begin from Rhode Island School of Design… for free. You’ll also get access to her 9 other artistic mastery lessons in this 10-day cancel anytime trial.

For centuries, artists have experimented with drugs for inspiration, but this was not Da Vinci’s style. He had a cleaner, albeit a stranger, method:

“I cannot forbear to mention among these precepts a new device for study which, although it may seem but trivial and almost ludicrous, is nevertheless extremely useful in arousing the mind to various inventions. And this is, when you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones, if you have to devise some scene, you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes, beautified with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys and hills in varied arrangement; or again you may see battles and figures in action; or strange faces and costumes, and an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well drawn forms. And these appear on such walls confusedly, like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine.”

drawing exercise: draw with your minds eye

What do you see?

Our minds are natural hallucinators. When we lack external sensory input, our brains manufacture their own. You can see this phenomenon in full effect with the use of sensory deprivation chambers.

If you don’t have one of these, a bedchamber will suffice.

“I myself have proved it to be of no small use, when in bed in the dark, to recall in fancy the external details of forms previously studied, or other noteworthy things conceived by subtle speculation; and this is certainly an admirable exercise, and useful for impressing things on the memory.”

For inspiration deprive your mind of interesting stimulation, so it comes up with its own. Stare at a stained wall, the clouds, into space or close your eyes and let your mind wander. Design a composition with the results of this exercise.

Drawing Exercises from Leonardo da Vinci: Final Thoughts

The ability to draw technically well is like a guitar player who can play extremely fast. It’s an added string to your bow. 

What counts is the ability to move people, to present ideas and questions that stir up our emotions. The problem is, artists who lack any technical ability will struggle to communicate their ideas to their full effect. We need to be able to do both. Remember:

“The painter should aim at universality, because there is a great want of self-respect in doing one thing well and another badly…

I’ll leave you with some final words from Serge Bramly on the result one can expect to achieve if they work hard at Leonardo’s drawing exercises:

“In his studies of flowers, bodies, machines, and whirlpools, depicted in the minutest detail, or of birds in mid-flight, he finally achieved a mastery comparable to that of Zen archers who have come to identify so clearly with their weapon and its target that his arrows hit it without their having 

Find your target.

Take aim.


There’s a common myth that Leonardo da Vinci was a ‘chronic procrastinator’. To find out why this wasn’t the case and get an insight how Leonardo viewed topics like starting and finishing, check out this article here.

Fiddler mosaic – Inspired by Chagall

Fiddler on the Roof

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 1964 musical. For the film, see Fiddler on the Roof (film).
Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the roof poster.jpg
Original Broadway Windowcard evoking the artwork of Marc Chagall, source of the title.
Music Jerry Bock
Lyrics Sheldon Harnick
Book Joseph Stein
Basis Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem
Productions 1964 Broadway
1967 West End
1971 film
1976 Broadway revival
1981 Broadway revival
1983 West End revival
1990 Broadway revival
1994 West End revival
2003 UK Tour
2004 Broadway revival
2007 West End revival
2008 UK Tour
2009 US Tour
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Score
Tony Award for Best Book

Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman and Other Tales) by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one’s choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.

The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway’s fifteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals, a successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions.[1]



[icon] This section requires expansion. (March 2009)

Fiddler on the Roof was originally titled Tevye. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem that he wrote in Yiddish and published in 1894.[2] The musical’s title stems from the painting “The Fiddler” by Marc Chagall,[3] one of many surreal paintings he created of Eastern European Jewish life, often including a fiddler. The Fiddler is a metaphor for survival, through tradition and joyfulness, in a life of uncertainty and imbalance.

Harold Prince replaced the original producer Fred Coe and brought in director/choreographer Jerome Robbins.[4]


Original productions

The original Broadway production opened on September 22, 1964, at the Imperial Theatre, transferred in 1967 to the Majestic Theatre and in 1970 to The Broadway Theatre, and ran for a record-setting total of 3,242 performances. The production was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins – his last original Broadway staging.[5] The set, designed in the style of Marc Chagall‘s paintings, was by Boris Aronson.[6] A colorful logo for the production, also inspired by Chagall’s work, was designed by Tom Morrow.

The cast included Zero Mostel as Tevye the milkman, Maria Karnilova as his wife Golde (each of whom won a Tony for their performances), Beatrice Arthur and later Florence Stanley as Yente the matchmaker, Austin Pendleton as Motel, Bert Convy as Perchik the student revolutionary, Gino Conforti as the fiddler, and Julia Migenes as Hodel. Joanna Merlin originated the role of Tzeitel, which was later assumed by Bette Midler during the original run. Carol Sawyer was Fruma Sarah, Adrienne Barbeau took a turn as Hodel, and Pia Zadora played the youngest daughter, Bielke. Both Peg Murray and Dolores Wilson made extended appearances as Golde, while other stage actors who have played Tevye include Herschel Bernardi (in the original Broadway run), Theodore Bikel and Leonard Nimoy. Mostel’s understudy in the original production, Paul Lipson, went on to appear as Tevye in more performances than any other actor, clocking over 2,000 performances in the role in the original run as well as several revivals.[7] The production earned $1,574 for every dollar invested in it.[8]

The original West End production opened on February 16, 1967, at Her Majesty’s Theatre and played for 2,030 performances. It starred Chaim Topol, who would also play Tevye in the 1971 film adaptation and the 1990 Broadway revival, and Miriam Karlin as Golde. Alfie Bass, Lex Goudsmit and Barry Martin eventually took over as Tevye. The show was revived in London in for short seasons in 1983 at The Apollo Victoria Theatre and in 1994 at The London Palladium.

Broadway revivals

The first Broadway revival opened on December 28, 1976, and ran for 176 performances at the Winter Garden Theatre. Zero Mostel starred as Tevye. Robbins directed and choreographed. A second Broadway revival opened on July 9, 1981, and played for a limited run (53 performances) at Lincoln Center‘s New York State Theater. It starred Herschel Bernardi as Tevye and Karnilova as Golde. Other cast members included Liz Larsen, Fyvush Finkel, Lawrence Leritz and Paul Lipson. Robbins directed and choreographed. The third Broadway revival opened on November 18, 1990, and ran for 241 performances at the George Gershwin Theatre. Topol starred as Tevye, and Marcia Lewis was Golde. Robbins’ production was reproduced by Ruth Mitchell and choreographer Sammy Dallas Bayes. The production won the Tony Award for Best Revival.

A fourth Broadway revival opened on February 26, 2004, and ran for 36 previews and 781 performances at the Minskoff Theatre. Alfred Molina, and later Harvey Fierstein, starred as Tevye, and Randy Graff, and later Andrea Martin and Rosie O’Donnell, was Golde. Lea Michele played Sprintze.[9] It was directed by David Leveaux. This production replaced Yente’s song “The Rumor” with a song for Yente and two other women called “Topsy-Turvy”. The production was nominated for six Tonys but did not win any.

London revivals

Fiddler was first revived in London in 1983 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (a four-month season starring Topol) and again in 1994 at the London Palladium for two months and then on tour, again starring Topol, and directed and choreographed by Sammy Dallas Bayes, recreating the Robbins production.[10]

After a two-month tryout at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England, a London revival opened on May 19, 2007, at the Savoy Theatre starring Henry Goodman as Tevye, Beverley Klein as Golde, Alexandra Silber as Hodel, Damian Humbley as Perchik and Victor McGuire as Lazar Wolf. The production was directed by Lindsay Posner. Robbins’ choreography was recreated by Sammy Dallas Bayes (who did the same for the 1990 Broadway revival), with additional choreography by Kate Flatt.[11]

UK tours

A 2003 national tour played for seven months, with a radical design, directed by Julian Woolford and choreographed by Chris Hocking. The production featured a minimalist setting, and the costumes and set were monochromatic. Fruma-Sarah was represented by a 12 foot puppet. This production was revived in 2008 starring Joe McGann and toured until September 2008.[12]

Australian and U.S. tours

For two years, beginning in 2005, Topol recreated his role as Tevye in an Australian production, with seasons in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Wellington and Auckland.

Topol in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’: The Farewell Tour opened on January 20, 2009, in Wilmington, Delaware. Topol left the tour in November 2009 due to torn muscles in his arms. He was replaced by Harvey Fierstein.[13]

International productions

Among the many versions produced around the world is a Hebrew language staging produced by the Israeli impresario Giora Godik in the 1960s.[14] The Hebrew version of “Fiddler on the Roof” was so successful that Godik decided to produce a second version, this time in Yiddish, the language in which the original Sholem Aleichem stories upon which the musical was based were written. The translation was by Shraga Friedman.[15]

Un Violinista sobre el Tejado was produced in Spanish at Panama’s National Theatre of Panama from October 11 to 15, 2012, starring Aaron Zebede as Tevye.[16]


Act I

Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman with five daughters, explains the customs of the Jews in the Russian shtetl of Anatevka in 1905, where their lives are as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a roof (“Tradition”). At Tevye’s home, everyone is busy preparing for the Sabbath meal. His sharp-tongued wife, Golde, orders their daughters, Tzeitel, Hodel, Chava, Shprintze and Bielke, about their tasks. Yente, the village matchmaker, arrives to tell Golde that Lazar Wolf, the wealthy butcher, a widower older than Tevye, wants to wed Tzeitel, the eldest daughter. The next two daughters, Hodel and Chava, are excited about Yente’s visit, but Tzeitel is unenthusiastic (“Matchmaker, Matchmaker”). A girl from a poor family must take whatever husband Yente brings, but Tzeitel wants to marry her childhood friend, Motel the tailor.

The Fiddler by Marc Chagall, from which the musical takes its name Fiddler mosaic by Gökşen Parlatan

Tevye is delivering milk, pulling the cart himself, as his horse is lame. He asks God, whom would it hurt “If I Were a Rich Man“? Avram, the bookseller, has news from the outside world about pogroms and expulsions. A stranger, Perchik, hears their conversation and scolds them for doing nothing more than talk. The men dismiss Perchik as a radical, but Tevye invites him home for the Sabbath meal and offers him food and a room in exchange for tutoring his two youngest daughters. Golde tells Tevye to meet Lazar after the Sabbath but does not tell him why, knowing that Tevye does not like Lazar. Tzeitel is afraid that Yente will find her a husband before Motel asks Tevye for her hand. But Motel resists: he is afraid of Tevye’s temper, and tradition says that a matchmaker arranges marriages. Motel is also very poor and is saving up to buy a sewing machine before he approaches Tevye, to show that he can support a wife. The family gathers for the “Sabbath Prayer.”

After the Sabbath, Tevye meets Lazar at Mordcha’s inn, assuming mistakenly that Lazar wants to buy his cow. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up, Tevye agrees to let Lazar marry Tzeitel – with a rich butcher, his daughter will never want for anything. All join in the celebration of Lazar’s good fortune; even the Russian youths at the inn join in the celebration and show off their dancing skills (“To Life”). Outside the inn, Tevye happens upon the Russian Constable, who has jurisdiction over the Jews in the town. The Constable warns him that there is going to be a “little unofficial demonstration” in the coming weeks (a euphemism for a minor pogrom). The Constable has sympathy for the Jewish community but is powerless to prevent the violence.

The next morning, after Perchik’s lessons with her young sisters, Tevye’s second daughter Hodel mocks Perchik’s Marxist interpretation of a Bible story. He, in turn, criticizes her for hanging on to the old traditions of Judaism, noting that the world is changing. To illustrate this, he dances with her, defying the prohibition against opposite sexes dancing together. The two begin to fall in love. Later, a hungover Tevye announces that he has agreed that Tzeitel will marry Lazar Wolf. Golde is overjoyed, but Tzeitel is devastated and begs Tevye not to force her. Motel arrives and tells Tevye that he is the perfect match for Tzeitel and that he and Tzeitel gave each other a pledge to marry. He promises that Tzeitel will not starve as his wife. Tevye is stunned and outraged at this breach of tradition, but impressed at the timid tailor’s display of backbone. After some soul-searching (“Tevye’s Monologue”), Tevye agrees to let them marry, but he worries about how to break the news to Golde. An overjoyed Motel celebrates with Tzeitel (“Miracle of Miracles”).

In bed with Golde, Tevye pretends to be waking from a nightmare. Golde offers to interpret his dream, and Tevye “describes” it (“Tevye’s Dream”). Golde’s grandmother Tzeitel returns from the grave to bless the marriage of her namesake, but to Motel, not to Lazar Wolf. Lazar’s formidable late wife, Fruma-Sarah, rises from her grave to warn, in graphic terms, of severe retribution if Tzeitel marries Lazar. The superstitious Golde is terrified, and she quickly counsels that Tzeitel must marry Motel. While returning from town, Tevye’s third daughter, the bookish Chava, is teased and intimidated by some Russian youths, but one of them, Fyedka, protects her, dismissing the others. He offers Chava the loan of a book, and a secret relationship begins.

The wedding day of Tzeitel and Motel arrives, and all the Jews join the ceremony (“Sunrise, Sunset”) and the celebration (“The Wedding Dance”). Lazar gives a fine gift, but an argument arises with Tevye over the broken agreement. Perchik ends the tiff by breaking another tradition: he crosses the barrier between the men and women to dance with Tevye’s daughter Hodel. The celebration ends abruptly when a group of Russians rides into the village to perform the “demonstration”. They disrupt the party, damaging the wedding gifts and wounding Perchik, who attempts to fight back, and wreaking more destruction in the village. Tevye instructs his family to clean up the mess.

Act II

Fiddler On the Roof by Lev Segal in Netanya

Months later, Perchik tells Hodel he must return to Kiev to work for the revolution. He proposes marriage, admitting that he loves her, and says that he will send for her. She agrees (“Now I Have Everything”). They tell Tevye that they are engaged, and he is appalled that they are flouting tradition by making their own match, especially as Perchik is leaving. When he forbids the marriage, Perchik and Hodel inform him that they do not seek his permission, only his blessing. After more soul searching, Tevye relents – the world is changing, and he must change with it (“Tevye’s Rebuttal”). He informs the young couple that he gives them his blessing and his permission.

Tevye explains these events to an astonished Golde. “Love”, he says, “it’s the new style.” Tevye asks Golde, despite their own arranged marriage, “Do You Love Me?” After dismissing Tevye’s question as foolish, she eventually admits that, after 25 years of living and struggling together and raising five daughters, she does. Meanwhile, Yente tells Tzeitel that she saw Chava with Fyedka. News spreads quickly in Anatevka that Perchik has been arrested and exiled to Siberia (“The Rumor/I Just Heard”), and Hodel is determined to join him there. At the railway station, she explains to her father that her home is with her beloved, wherever he may be, although she will always love her family (“Far From the Home I Love”).

Time passes. Motel has purchased a used sewing machine, and he and Tzeitel have had a baby. Chava finally gathers the courage to ask Tevye to allow her marriage to Fyedka. Again Tevye reaches deep into his soul, but marriage outside the Jewish faith is a line he will not cross. He forbids Chava to speak to Fyedka again. When Golde brings news that Chava has eloped with Fyedka, Tevye wonders where he went wrong (“Chavaleh Sequence”). Chava returns and tries to reason with him, but he refuses to speak to her and tells the rest of the family to consider her dead. Meanwhile, rumors are spreading of the Russians expelling Jews from their villages. While the villagers are gathered, the constable arrives to tell everyone that they have three days to pack up and leave the town. In shock, they reminisce about “Anatevka” and how hard it will be to leave what has been their home for so long.

As the Jews leave Anatevka, Chava and Fyedka stop to tell her family that they are also leaving for Krakow, unwilling to remain among the people who could do such things to others. Tevye still will not talk to her, but when Tzeitel says goodbye to Chava, Tevye prompts her to add “God be with you”. Motel and Tzeitel go to Poland but will join the family when they have saved up enough money. As Tevye, Golde and his two youngest daughters leave the village for America, the fiddler begins to play. Tevye beckons with a nod, and the fiddler follows them out of the village.