Moments in time: A closer look at Raphael's drawings

The India International Centre (IIC) is showcasing 'Moments in time Raphael drawings', an online exhibition of selected drawings of the Renaissance Master, Raphael Sanzio. The second exhibition, which is on view from October 5 to October 18, 2020, has been organised to commemorate the 500th death anniversary of Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520), master painter and architect of Italian High Renaissance, one of the most influential and naturally gifted artists in the history of art.

Raphael was one of the finest draftsmen in the history of Western art and used drawings extensively to plan his compositions. The execution of a vast number of studies in a variety of techniques was Raphael's standard practice. According to a near-contemporary, when beginning to plan a composition, he would lay out a large number of stock drawings of his on the floor and begin to draw 'rapidly', borrowing figures from here and there. He used different drawings to refine his poses and compositions, apparently to a greater extent than most other painters, to judge by the number of variants that survive. He also made unusually extensive use, on both paper and plaster, of a 'blind stylus', scratching lines which leave only an indentation, but no mark.

During his association with Perugino's workshop, Raphael acquired proficiency in the use of silverpoint, a method in which the metal tip of a stylus is worked on a prepared ground applied to the paper.

Drawings had a crucial function in the realisation of Raphael's art. They were not only the patterns for final works but the means of their development as they shaped the creative process at the same time as they documented it.

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