The art of drawing revealed

Sir John Godsalve by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 Giulio Mascheroni Giulio Pedrizzano, The Lutenist Mascheroni by Annibale Carracci c.1593-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 A sheet of figure studies, with male heads and three sketches of a woman with a child by Rembrandt von Rijn c.1636 © The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham Man with Shoulder-length Hair Wearing a Cap by an Unknown Venetian artist, c.1500; © The Trustees of the British Museum Man wearing a wide collar, possibly Luigi Bernini by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c.1640 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 Woman Wearing a White Headdress by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-43 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 Study of a Young Man, by Annibale Carracci, mid 1580s The Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. Salvador Dali

This upcoming exhibition from London’s National Portrait Gallery, The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt – immediately caught my eye.  As an evergreen art student, this took me right back to my Fine Art degree days and the intense joy of discovering the drawings of Hans Holbein the Younger – an artist who I have long admired – alongside an accompanying feeling of deep despair of never being able to match his craftsmanship and skill.

Man Wearing a Black Cap by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1535 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 Man wearing a wide collar, possibly Luigi Bernini by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c.1640 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

  • Man Wearing a Black Cap by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1535 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Man wearing a wide collar, possibly Luigi Bernini by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c.1640 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

As Dali has said, a drawing gives far more depth into a portrait, you can’t hide behind a thick layer of paint. If you are looking at the work of one of the masters – and there are 50 drawings featured in this exhibit – it gives you a level of understanding, both of the modus operandi of the artist in question and the underlying character of the sitter.  The DNA of the image if you like. Without Holbein’s revealing portraits of the main protagonists for the court of Henry VIII for instance, where would we be?

Woman Wearing a White Headdress by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-43 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 Young Woman in a French Hood, possibly Mary Zouch by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1533 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

  • Woman Wearing a White Headdress by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-43 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Young Woman in a French Hood, possibly Mary Zouch by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1533 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The National Portrait Gallery are also placing alongside the drawings a selection of tools that they would have used in the day as they moved away from the use of medieval pattern-books as source materials, to study the figure, and the face, from life. It should be fascinating and a must-visit for all artists at every level.

A sheet of figure studies, with male heads and three sketches of a woman with a child by Rembrandt von Rijn c.1636 © The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham Sir John Godsalve by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

  • A sheet of figure studies, with male heads and three sketches of a woman with a child by Rembrandt von Rijn c.1636 © The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
  • Sir John Godsalve by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Artists featured include Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Annibale Carracci, François Clouet, Albrecht Dürer, Anthony Van Dyck, Benozzo Gozzoli, Antonio di Puccio Pisano (Pisanello), Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Francesco Salviati, Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein the Younger of course.

Man with Shoulder-length Hair Wearing a Cap by an Unknown Venetian artist, c.1500; © The Trustees of the British Museum Old man attributed to Lagneauor Lanneau © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

  • Man with Shoulder-length Hair Wearing a Cap by an Unknown Venetian artist, c.1500; © The Trustees of the British Museum
  • Old man attributed to Lagneauor Lanneau © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

The Details: 

The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt is at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 13th July – 22nd October 2017 and brings together 50 drawings by some of the outstanding masters of the Renaissance and Baroque. Adult tickets start at £8 – £10 with donation.

Many of the exhibits are rarely seen in public due to their age and fragility and the exhibit includes 15 drawings – including eight Holbeins – lent by HM The Queen from the Royal Collection. 

Get Social:

The National Portrait Gallery is on Facebook/nationalportraitgallery; on Twitter/@NPGLondon; on Instagram/National Portrait Gallery and on YouTube/natportraitgallery

Images Credits: Images with thanks to the National Portrait Gallery:

Title collage: (from the left clockwise):

  • Sir John Godsalve by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Giulio Pedrizzano, The Lutenist Mascheroni by Annibale Carracci c.1593-4 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • A sheet of figure studies, with male heads and three sketches of a woman with a child by Rembrandt von Rijn c.1636 © The Henry Barber Trust, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
  • Man with Shoulder-length Hair Wearing a Cap by an Unknown Venetian artist, c.1500; © The Trustees of the British Museum
  • Man wearing a wide collar, possibly Luigi Bernini by Gian Lorenzo Bernini c.1640 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Woman Wearing a White Headdress by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-43 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
  • Study of a Young Man, by Annibale Carracci, mid 1580s The Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth

Feature image:

  • Woman Wearing a White Headdress by Hans Holbein the Younger c.1532-43 Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Contributor:  Sue Lowry

Magellan PR is on twitter: @MagellanPR / on Facebook: MagellanPR / on Pinterest: Sue Lowry / on Google+: Sue Lowry & MagellanPR and on Flickr: Sue Lowry. For more information on our company, visit http://www.magellan-pr.com. Follow our other blog focussing on travel in the South of England – A3 Traveller. Follow A3Traveller on Twitter: @A3Traveller.

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