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RENAISSANCE DRAWINGSLeft:Virgin andChild, AndreaMantegna(c1480-90). Theoriginal sketch,covered herewith ink, featureda very differentdesign for the throne Main picture:Head of aWoman,Leonardo daVinci (c1468-75) Drawing attentionThe exhibition of 100 Italian 15th-century drawings thatopens at the British Museum on 22 April will bringtogether for the first time the two greatest graphicholdings in the field: the Museum's Prints and DrawingsDepartment and the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi,Florence. The greatest treasures of both collections are ondisplay because of the reciprocal nature of the arrangement,with the exhibition going on to Florence after it closes inLondon on 25 July. This unique collaboration means that theexhibition will be able to recount the development of Italiandrawing between 1400 and around 1510 in unparalleleddepth. The list of artists whose work is represented is trulystellar: including Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini,Botticelli, Carpaccio, Filippo and Filippino Lippi, Lorenzo di Credi,Lorenzo Monaco, Mantegna, Perugino, Pisanello, Antonio andPiero Pollaiuolo, and Verrocchio. It closes with youthfulexamples by Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian, whose careerswould define the successive period in Italian art.For Michelangelo and Raphael, drawing was absolutelyfundamental to how they worked (the same is also probablytrue of Titian but his surviving graphic legacy is tiny incomparison with theirs). The exhibition traces the evolution ofthe working procedures on paper that both artists learnt fromtheir respective masters. This began with exploratorycompositional studies followed by detailed drawings of figuresand important details of the design, perhaps concluding with asame-size drawing of the design, known as a cartoon (fromthe Italian for a large sheet of paper -'cartone'). The keystimulus for drawing was the widening availability of paper,especially after the introduction of the printing press to Italyfrom Germany in the 1460s. Although paper remained aRenaissance Italy was quite simply awash with talent, resulting in some of history's best-known artworks.Hugo Chapmanexplains how a stellar new exhibition at the British Museumexamines the ways in whichdrawings assisted the artistic process, and how many artists used these sketches to experiment with afreedom that was not always reflected in their finished works26NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2010www.nadfas.org.ukImages: © British Museum; Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe

ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM