Fra Angelico to Leonardo: drawn to perfection

Italian Renaissance drawings at the British Museum (Handout/British Museum)

The British Museum’s parade of pioneering drawings by Italian Renaissance masters is beguiling and enlightening.

By Waldemar Januszczak in the UK’s Times Online

I was going to begin here with the assertion that drawing was back. But that would have been silly. Drawing cannot be back because it cannot ever have been away. It is too central and useful an artistic activity ever to allow us to do without it. As long as human beings have fingers and the rubbing of one substance across another leaves a mark, there will always be drawing.

The point I would have been trying to make, had I attempted to make it, however, is that a certain fashionableness has once again attached itself to this primary means of communication. At Christie’s recently, a bedazzled foreign moneybags was so taken by a Raphael drawing of a woman’s head that he spent £29m on it. It’s a beautiful drawing. No argument there. And since it was made in preparation for Raphael’s great decoration of the papal apartments in the Vatican, it has some genuine historic resonance. But as a pretty drawing of a woman tilting her head, angelically, it tells us more about the predictability of a modern billionaire’s tastes than it does about the progress of the Renaissance. Why didn’t the poor sap just buy a framed photo of Lady Di?

*****
[Read the full article; http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/visual_arts/article7103877.ece%5D

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