The Master Drawings show at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago presents a spectacular “survey of European draftsmanship with masterworks by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Edgar Degas, Guercino, Jacob Jordeans, and Jean-Antoine Watteau, among many others.” Included are “examples of nearly every artistic movement and drawing technique used by European artists from the Renaissance to the mid-19th century.” The 84 works are organized chronologically and include all types of drawings — sketches, studies, and preparatory work — for paintings, prints, textiles, stained glass, and other uses, as well as finished works. The drawings are part of a collection from the Yale University Art Gallery and limited to “pre-Impressionist” European drawings. From A Lion (ca. 1480) by an unknown artist, using pen and brown ink over lead point or black chalk, through nearly 5 centuries, to Notre Dame of Paris Seen from the Quai de la Tournelle (6 June 1863) by Johan Barthold Jongkind, working in watercolor, we are witnesses to the first moments of artistic creation, compositional studies, and experiments in style and technique. With short descriptions accompanying each drawing and a catalogue available with more detailed information, the show (a quick artistic travelogue through time) emphasizes the importance of drawing as a fundamental part of the creative process and provides a glimpse into the minds and personalities of these talented artists.
Master Drawings continues through January 6, 2008 at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 5550 South Greenwood Avenue.
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