Drawing is the foundation stone of Western art. In the 15th century artists used drawing to try out rough ideas before arriving at their final compositions. They made drawings from life that acted as studies for finished paintings. By the 16th century, artists like Leonardo and Michelangelo were producing finely wrought drawings as works of art in their own right. Later, Rembrandt and his contemporaries carried sketchbooks with them, catching fleeting moments or recording places and landscapes they had visited.
Nearer to our own time, drawing became a medium for personal expression, with painters as varied as van Gogh or Picasso inventing whole new ways of graphic expression. And drawing continues to be a vital part of today’s artistic practice, with artists like Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Tracey Emin all making their own contributions to this endlessly fascinating art form.
• Speaker Colin Wiggins began his career in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, which houses one of the greatest collections of drawings in the world. He then moved to the National Gallery, where he worked for over 30 years as head of education and special projects curator. While there, he was responsible for the Associate Artist scheme, inviting contemporary artists such as Paula Rego, Peter Blake and Ana Maria Pacheco to become involved in the life of the gallery and to hold exhibitions of their work there. He also curated exhibitions of work by artists such as Frank Auerbach, Bridget Riley, Lucian Freud and Sir Anthony Caro. He has many publications to his name.
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