2 Learning from the Masters: how to look at Italian Renaissance drawings
3 Learning from the Masters: how to look at ItalianRenaissance drawingsThis slideshow will help you to:examine the drawings in detailanalyse the techniques used in drawingsconsider the reasons for drawing in the Renaissancethink about why drawings are so important in the development of Italian Renaissance art
4 During these two slideshows, think about these important questions: Is it a quick drawing? How ‘finished’ is it?What materials did the artist use?How has the artist created a sense of light and shade?How has the artist created a sense of depth?What was the drawing for?Who was the intended audience?
5 What was Italy like in the 15th century? What do you notice about this map of Italy?Italy was not united but made up of republics, duchies and kingdoms.Republic of VeniceWealth: trade with the EastPatrons: the Doge, Senators, scuole (confraternities), merchant families, churchRepublic of FlorenceWealth: banking, wool tradePatrons: Medici family, rich banking families, churchAlthough politically divided, people in Italy shared a common language, enabling artists to travel and ideas to be communicated.Two of the most important regions were the Republic of Florence and the Republic of Venice. These wealthy cities had many patrons of the arts.
6 What kinds of drawing techniques has the artist used? Throughout the 15th century, artists sought to depict the world around them with greater realism, so the painting would become an extension of this world. This was achieved through:Effects of light and shade: used to suggest solidity and shadow (tone, hatching, washes)Understanding of perspectivePractising drawing and learning from other artists was crucial in this.
7 Examine the similarities and differences in these drawings… Both artists use cross hatching to achieve different effects with the folds of the drapery.Similar composition: a figure draped in cloth but the effect is very different. Why?Michelangelo uses a less defined line but creates a sense of depth with his shading to form a more solid, three-dimensional figure.Spinelli concentrates on lines created by the cloth, in particular the spiral effect of the folds.
8 Creating a sense of space Many Renaissance artists wanted to add a sense of reality in their pictures – one way to do this was by creating the illusion of figures standing on flat ground. How is this achieved?Perspective lines, which met at the ‘vanishing point’ gave a mathematical structure to drawings.In this drawing, Leonardo has meticulously drawn in all the lines to create the sense of space onto which to draw the scene and plot where the people should be.Leonardo da Vinci ( ), Study for the background of the Adoration of the Magi, around 1481, Metalpoint, pen and brown ink, brown wash, touches of lead white heightening, over stylus and compass incising, on cream preparation, Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe , 436 E
9 Creating a sense of space Artists in the 15th century perfected this skill and practising through the increased use of drawing on paper was vital.They became skilled at creating a sense of perspective without mathematical gridlines as Perugino has done here.Although the perspective is not precise, the architecture helps to create a sense of space.Technically able artists were able to sketch quickly and depict three-dimensional scenes on the flat page.Pietro Perugino (around 1450–1523)Adoration of the Magi, around , Leadpoint, pen and brown ink, British Museum 1853,1008.1
10 Working out how the world worked During the Renaissance, artists applied these mathematical principles to explain the world around them.The artist Uccello was fascinated by the new technique of perspective – in this drawing he has used 2,000 intersecting points to work out the structure of a chalice.Attributed to Paolo Uccello (c. 1397–1475), A chalice, around , Pen and brown ink, over ruled stylus and compass points, Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, 1758 A
11 What might the drawing be intended for? How do you know? Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Bust of a warrior, around 1475–80, Silverpoint on cream preparation, British Museum 1895,Michelangelo ( ), Recto: Figures and a battle scene, around , Pen and brown ink, British Museum 1895,
12 Leonardo da Vinci Bust of a warrior, around 1475–80 This is a carefully finished silverpoint drawing. It was probably used as a gift or as a demonstration piece.
13 We can see Michelangelo developing his ideas on paper in this drawing. Same pose of male figure with drapery this time. Both studies for the sculpture of an apostle.Cavalry battle early study for fresco of Battle of Cascina. Look for the outlines of the horses.Male nude figure 90° rotated.
14 Michelangelo: designing for different media Michelangelo was a master of several different art forms, including sculpture, painting and architecture. What do you think these designs might be for?Studies for sculpture of Virgin and ChildStudy for sculpture of Virgin and Child. Notice how a drawing of around two centimetres forms the basis of this finished sculpture.Charcoal nude drawing for fresco of Battle of Cascina (never painted)Robed figure and figure leaning, probably for statues (similar figure to previous slide)Study for a Corinthian capital to go on top of a columnMichelangelo ( ), Figure studies and a capital, around , Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe 233 F
15 What was the artist trying to do in this drawing? Antonio Pollaiuolo (c. 1432–98), Recto: St John the Baptist, ?1470s, Pen and brown ink and black chalk, Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe 699 EExperimentation with the figureDifferent positions for the right handA sense of emotion in the facial expressionDifferent positions and poses for left handDifferent positions for the feet
16 Becoming a painting1. Raphael (1483–1520), Recto: The Entombment, around 1506, Pen and brown ink, over black chalk and stylus , British Museum:1855,0214.12. Raphael (1483–1520), The Entombment, around 1506, Pen and brown ink, over black chalk, squared in stylus and red chalk and then pen and ink, Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe , 538 E3. Raphael,The Entombment, oil on panel, Villa Borghese, Rome, 1507
17 Raphael did 16 studies for the final painting Raphael did 16 studies for the final painting. Examine the similarities and differences between the two studies and the final version.
18 Using all that you have learned, examine the drawing and answer the questions: 1. Was this a quick drawing?2. What materials were used?3. How have effects of light and shade been achieved?The wash has been applied in different ways, sometimes with small strokes.As the composition shows a completed scene, you can tell it is unlikely to be design for a sculpture. It is the sketch for a painting of St Augustine for a small scuola or confraternity in Venice.Vittore Carpaccio (?1460/ /6). The Vision of St Augustine, around , British Museum 1934,1208.14. What might the drawing have been intended for?
19 Checklist for examining drawings: Is it a quick drawing? How ‘finished’ is it?What materials did the artist use?How has the artist created a sense of light and shade?How has the artist created a sense of depth?What was the drawing for?Was the drawing meant to be seen outside the studio?