Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Leonardo's Drawings: Materials and Methods



Conservator Alan Donnithorne of the Royal Collection Trust demonstrates the materials and methods used by Leonardo da Vinci for his silverpoint, charcoal, and pen-and-ink drawings, back in the day when artists had to make their own art supplies. (Link to YouTube).
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The examples are from the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.

6 comments:

Dennis Applebee said...

Great post! I love learning about traditional/historic art tools and media. My drawing students are surprised when I share that before the invention of the rubber eraser, artists used bread. There is an interesting Jim Dine video, "A Self Portrait on the Walls", where Dine was invited by gallery in Germany to make large-scale drawings on their gallery walls. Since the drawings were so large, he did not have an eraser large enough to rework the images. He is seen using a large loaf of bread to erase part of the drawing. Da Vinci's pen drawings show a powerful confidence and beautiful freshness in line quality—truly a master draftsman.

Pattie Wall said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is the persnickety preparation of materials of the days of the masters, that I appreciate.

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Karen Eade said...

Thank you for this. I’m left feeling humbled. I loved the use of shells.

Julia said...

Fascinating, thank you for sharing this, James. His sketchbooks are among the works I look at again and again.
I would have loved to learn more about Leonardo's notorious experimentation with his materials. After all, da Vinci was the guy who used completely experimental and unstable material combinations even for client work, which is why the Last Supper (oil/tempera on plaster wall) started to flake off after a few years.

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