Renaissance drawing collection

Updated: May 02, 2010, 09:52 AM IST

London: An exhibition here featuring 100 exquisite drawings by Italian Renaissance artists including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo is providing art lovers a unique opportunity to discover the evolution of drawing which laid the foundations of the unique style of the masters.

The display, currently on at the British Museum till July 25, charts the increasing importance of drawing during this period, featuring works by da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Verrocchio and Titian, the organisers said.

In 15th-century Italy, there was a fundamental shift in style and artistic thinking in the use of preparatory drawings.

What began as a means of preserving artistic ideas became the ideal way to perfect more naturalistic forms and perspective a new approach by painters, sculptors and architects, the organisers said.

Infrared and other technology used in conservation research provide fresh insights into how drawing allowed painters to experiment and explore with a freedom not always reflected in their finished works.

Works in the exhibition show the trend towards depiction of movement and expression of emotion, often inspired by classical antiquity.

Says exhibition curator Hugo Chapman, "The revival of classical art and learning is central to the artistic revolution that occurred in Italy in the 1400s the French word Renaissance that we use to describe the period means rebirth and was coined by artists and scholars of the period to claim that they had revived the ancient civilisations of
Greece and Rome.

"In truth the classical world had never disappeared, but it is true that artists began to look at ancient sculptures with a new intensity."

According to Chapman, marble figures like Bacchus encouraged artists to recognise the sensuality and beauty of the human body.

"The sculpted Bacchus presents an idealised vision of the perfect male body. Such are his charms that lipstick has had to be cleaned off him more than once - I`m hoping he will continue to cast his spell without us needing to wipe off the lip gloss," he said.