Drawings at the Morgan in New York

Image of Rubens drawing

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) Seated Male Youth (Study for Daniel)

The Morgan in New York has an exceptional collection of drawings ranging from preparatory studies to finished works of art with nearly twelve thousand drawings from the fourteenth through to the twenty-first centuries. The primary focus of the Morgan Library & Museum’s collection is European drawings executed before 1825, but the Morgan also has the largest collection of Rembrandt etchings in the United States.

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Russians: National Portrait Gallery, London

Mussorgsky by Ilia Repin, 1881. © State Tretyakov Gallery

Detail of Mussorgsky by Ilya Repin, 1881. © State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

An unprecedented cultural exchange between the National Portrait Gallery in London and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow — marking the 160 anniversary of the foundation of both galleries — Russia and the Arts  is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see masterpieces that rarely leave Russia. Presenting celebrated portraits of key figures from a golden age of the arts in the country, it is one of the most important Russian exhibition ever to take place at a British museum. Read more

Valadon and her studio in Montmartre

 Valadon (1865 – 1938)

Suzanne Valadon (1865 – 1938) with her son, Maurice Utrillo.

Suzanne Valadon (1865 – 1938) was a French painter and artists’ model. In 1894, Valadon was the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, although she never actually attended the academy or had any formal training at all.  Illegitimate, and brought up in poverty, she lived in Montmartre and started modelling at the age of 15 for artists such as Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. However, Valadon spent nearly 40 years as an artist in her own right.

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Delacroix and his museum in Paris

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) was a French artist who is regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school. For 40 years Eugène Delacroix was one of the most prominent but controversial painters in France. His works were often criticised and scandalising, never the less, he received many official honors and commissions during his lifetime. Complex, contradictory, a rebel, and an outsider, he had a profound and lasting influence on his contemporaries and future generations.


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Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Paris


Madame Grand, 1783. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

Detail. Madame Grand, 1783. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

There were a small number of eighteenth century women artists that became prominent for their talent and teaching, the stylistic innovations they created, and their influence on other artists. Nowhere can this be better seen than in the life and works of the French painter Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Read more

Liberace on Anatomy

Battle of the Nude Men by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, 1465–1475. Engraving 42.4 x 60.9 cm

Battle of the Nude Men by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, 1465–1475. Engraving 42.4 x 60.9 cm

Italian Renaissance artists became anatomists by necessity. They were attempting to refine a more lifelike human figure, even though opportunities to help their knowledge by direct anatomical dissection were restricted. In Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, he states that the sculptor, painter, and printmaker Antonio Pollaiuolo (1431–1498) was the “first master to skin many human bodies in order to investigate the muscles and understand the nude in a more modern way.” We can see his knowledge displayed beautifully in Pollaiuolo’s engraving Battle of Naked Men. The nude warriors are in extreme action showing their nearly flayed musculature. Read more

TWO drawing exhibitions in Paris

Man reclining

Louis de Boullogne (1654 – 1733)

IMG_5638Last month I went to two drawing exhibitions in Paris, both in one day. What a delight. Firstly a trip to Drawing Now held in the newly restored Carreau du Temple in the Haut Marais, then in the afternoon to Salon du Dessin not far away at the old stock exchange, the Palais de la Bourse. A Temple and a Palace, both full of drawings, but there was a major difference between the two.

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