Perhaps it’s worth remembering that there are no rules in drawing, apart from the artist’s own intention and ability to use the material as he wishes. Ultimately, drawing is far more complex than this exhibition suggests, involving numerous stages and the use of a multitude of materials. This exhibition of previously unseen drawings is therefore an opportunity to engage with artists and their individual relationship to the tools of their craft. The works created by European artists from the Renaissance to the 19th century are chosen to emphasize a breadth of approach and drawing’s role in the history of art.
The exhibition features a notable selection of Spanish drawings, with works by Murillo, Alonso Cano, Maella, Camarón, Vicente López and Isidre Nonell. Clearly, the materials most used and appreciated by European artists are sanguine and wash. Sanguine, of which there are some fine examples in the exhibition, is chalk or crayon of a reddish color created from iron oxide. Wash is created with a variety of materials strongly diluted in water, be it sanguine, colored ink or pigments. Drawings in wash are sometimes combined with highlights of white gouache. Italian sheets may especially feature a bold use of washes.