Jean August Dominique Ingres, “Study for Raphael and the Fornarina,” circa 1814, graphite on paper, 10 x 7 3/4 inches, Robert Lehman Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is just about to open a significant exhibition of brilliant masterworks by the most famous artists in art history. You certainly can’t miss this.

Opening October 4 at the Met in New York is “Leonardo to Matisse,” 60 masterpieces of European drawing spanning the Renaissance to the Modern age. Drawn from the Robert Lehman Collection, it is the first presentation to highlight the full range of his distinguished collection, numbering over 700 sheets, and to explore his significant activity as a 20th-century collector. “The exhibition will trace the development of European drawing across five centuries through works by such celebrated masters as Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, Rembrant, Tiepolo, Ingres, Seurat, and Matisse,” the Met reports.

Leonardo da Vinci, “A Bear Walking,” circa 1482-85, silverpoint on paper, 4 x 5 1/4 inches, Robert Lehman Collection

“Drawn from the Museum’s acclaimed Robert Lehman Collection, the exhibition will present a dynamic array of styles, techniques, and genres — from compositional studies for mythological and biblical narratives to panoramic landscapes and arresting studies of the human form. The selection will also illustrate the different facets of the artists’ creative processes — from Leonardo’s keen anatomical observation in his ‘Study of a Bear Walking,’ to Dürer’s awakening artistic self-consciousness in his ’Self-Portrait’ study, to Rembrandt’s re-interpretation of Leonardo’s painted masterpiece ‘The Last Supper.’

“The selection of drawings on view in ‘Leonardo to Matisse’ will reflect significant developments in the medium between the 15th and 20th centuries, as styles, techniques, and genres evolved, evoking illuminating comparisons across regions and eras. The portraits, figure studies, landscapes, mythological, and biblical narratives included in the exhibition will represent diverse sacred and secular subjects in media ranging from metalpoint, pen and ink, and chalk to graphite, pastel, and charcoal.

Antoine Watteau, “Seated Woman,” circa 1716-17, black, white, and red chalk, 9 7/16 x 5 7/16 inches, Robert Lehman Collection

“The role of drawing as the foundation of all the visual arts will be illustrated by numerous preparatory studies for painting, sculpture, textiles, engraving, and stained glass, including rare 15th century Netherlandish designs for a carved capital and tapestry. Elucidating the varying stages of the design process, the works on view will include rapid preliminary sketches, detailed studies of motifs, expansive compositional designs, and finished drawings intended for patrons.”

“Leonardo to Matisse” continues through January 7. To learn more, visit the Met.

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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