Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, “Head of a Woman: Study for The Happy Mother (L’Heureuse mère),” 1810, black and white chalk on blue paper

Featuring celebrated works from the 1500s to the 1800s, this must-see exhibition demonstrates how artists skillfully select from a vast array of media and techniques to best generate form, likeness, and depth in creating a drawing.

On view December 12 through February 11 at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, “Finding Form” is a compelling look into the complex art of drawing. Drawn from the Getty museum’s own permanent holdings, “Finding Form” showcases a wide range of master drawings, circa 1500 to 1800, and focuses on the “seeming magic of creating an image of three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface,” said Timothy Potts, director of the institution. Works in the exhibition reveal how artists used media such as chalk, ink, and different pens to yield form.

Albert Dubois-Pillet, “The Banks of the Marne at Dawn,” circa 1888, watercolor over traces of black chalk
Giovanni Agostino da Lodi, “Saint John the Baptist,” circa 1500, red chalk
Alfred William Hunt, “Mount Snowdon through Clearing Clouds,” 1857, watercolor on paper
Jacques Callot, “Study of a Rearing Horse,” circa 1616, quill and reed pens and brown ink
Unknown maker, “Mary Magdalene Transported by Four Angels,” circa 1485-90, pen and black ink with white opaque watercolor highlights

“I find it fascinating to see how — over the centuries — artists have used all the techniques at their disposal to create different realities on each sheet,” said Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings. “We always provide magnifying glasses in our displays, and just by looking closely, anyone can gain entry into a rich variety of other worlds.”

To learn more, visit the Getty Museum.

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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