The Clement Art Gallery in Troy, New York, recently unveiled a tantalizing exhibition featuring a lovely range of metalpoint drawings from many of the nation’s top draftsmen and -women. Who’s included?
Featuring 10 profoundly talented artists, including Jeannine Cook, Jon Gernon, Eileen Kennedy, and Kandy Phillips, “The Luster of the Line: Drawings in Metalpoint” is a rare opportunity for connoisseurs to explore contemporary examples of a storied artistic technique.

Jeannine Cook, “Ammonites de Bourgogne,” silverpoint and watercolor (c) Jeannine Cook 2016

Metalpoint is a drawing technique developed during the late Gothic and Early Renaissance periods that afforded artists the ability to draft beautifully detailed and fine drawings. Beginning as silverpoint, the technique involves dragging a stylus or wire of silver across a surface prepared with a primer or gesso. With the rough texture, miniscule flakes of silver adhered to the ground. Silverpoint is noted for the quality of line, which is extremely fine and allows for great precision. Even so, silverpoint is extremely difficult and reworking a mistake is not easy.

Eileen Kennedy, “Wetlands,” silverpoint, 18 x 24 in. (c) Eileen Kennedy 2016

Over the past few centuries, early Renaissance silverpoint drawings have become fashionable for collectors, especially since the oxidation of the silver over time creates a beautiful maroon tint in the drawings. Artists who are known to have worked with the technique include Albrecht Dürer, Jan van Eyck, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. On view through March 25 at The Clement Art Gallery, the exhibition shows “a variety of ideas and applications of this historical medium,” according to the gallery. “Silverpoint drawings have been described as elegant, delicate, and precise. They display the ‘hand of the artist’ more than perhaps any other medium, and are more completely archival than any other; drawings from the late Medieval period through the Renaissance have survived to the present without damage due to the inertness and permanence of the materials.”
To learn more, visit The Clement Art Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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