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A Brief History of Drawing
drawings go back to the Superior Paleolithic, 35,000 years ago, when the
Homo sapiens represented on the cave surfaces of the caves or on the
skin of the coats, animals that he hunted. Later, Egyptians used
story telling with pictures instead of words, drawing on stone walls
During the late fourteenth
century, artists began to use paper more and more to explore their ideas
for the design of painting and sculptures, rather than simply to copy or
record finished works of art.
In preparing a composition, artists first drew quick sketches, usually
in pen and ink, in which they formulated general ideas rather than
focused on details.
During this period,
artists also began to work out the details of their commissions for
paintings, sculptures, and buildings with their prospective patrons by
drafting legally binding contracts.
These contracts often
included a drawing as an attachment in order to explain the details of
the design that was expected and that would be agreed upon by the two
parties. A number of drawings were also more generally produced as
demonstration pieces for the patron's approval and for the workshop's
use, and these were often carefully modelled with pen and ink and were
fairly complete regarding the iconography.
There are many Renaissance drawings from
1450 onward and some from between 1350 and 1450 but only a handful from
before that time. Obviously, people were drawing but their preliminary
sketches were done on the wall or page and then covered by paint.
always played an important part in the work of architects, sculptors and
painters. In drawings, they recorded their first idea for some project,
in drawings, too, they experimented with compositional schemes or
studied important details of their work.
so much a technical by-product of studio work that for long it never
occurred to anybody to treat drawings as works of art, to preserve them
and value them in their own right. Drawings were looked on merely as
preparatory aids to the artist, like the architect's blueprints, not as
works of art themselves.
usually discarded their sketches and studies after they had served their
purpose, although occasionally they made collections of studies by way
of reference and models to be exploited in later work. But, until the
Renaissance, drawings were rarely seen outside the studio.
During the Renaissance,
men became keenly interested in the personality of the artists and in
the mystery of the creative process.
drawings offered clues. The drawings of great masters, even their
slightest sketches, now began to be collected in a spirit akin to
relic-worship; they also began to be the object of searching study,
because it was recognized that in drawings the genius of the artist
often expressed itself with greater spontaneity and directness than in
the finished work, that drawings gave a most intimate insight into the
personal style, the "handwriting" of the artist.
drawings are still highly prized and closely studied for these reasons.
Master drawings command high prices, are eagerly collected and are
considered as being fully as important as paintings.
many-artists have cultivated drawings as a distinct branch of the arts,
and have made drawings that are complete works of art in themselves, not
merely preparatory studies of sketches.It is useful
to distinguish between different kinds of drawings by recognizing the
various purposes for which drawings are made, bearing in mind that these
purposes inevitably influence the styles and techniques of the drawings.
On the one
hand, there are those drawings which are mainly preparatory, i.e. which
were not made for their own sake, but in connection with the preparatory
work for some painting, piece of sculpture or architectural project.
Into this class fall the spontaneous sketch, the compositional design,
the detail study, etc.
On the other
hand, there are those drawings which were intended to be complete and
independent works of art, made for their own sake, rather than in
preparation for some other work. This distinction between preparatory
and "complete" drawing has nothing to do with quality: a hasty sketch by
a great artist can be vastly superior to the most painstakingly finished
drawing of a lesser one. In a somewhat special case are scientific
drawings, designs for decorative objects or machinery, or the sketchbook
notes taken by architects: these are not made to function as works of
art, though they may have high artistic value.
Excerpts from Wikipedia,
The Free Encyclopedia
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