What Makes a Master Drawing
What Makes a Master Drawing?
Our installation seeks to develop an answer to a basic question in the field of art history. While the term “master drawing” was traditionally restricted to works produced by the most celebrated “master” artists—such as Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo—it has come to encompass a much wider scope. From Baroque architectural studies to contemporary abstractions, the drawings exhibited here span four centuries of Western art and cover a wide range of media. They also challenge viewers to question their notions of “great art,” which might not be by a famous and familiar artist; the drawing need only exhibit mastery in its composition and execution.
Ezra Austin, Jonathan Chan, Trisha Datta, Amy Hudson, Hyejin Jang (Class of 2019)
Art through the Eyes of the Amateur
Drawings exist in a nebulous realm within the world of art. They serve as intimate glimpses into the creative process and can be examples of great art in and of themselves. As most of us are taking our first class in art history, studying drawings provides us with the opportunity to see different stages in the artistic process. In this installation, the class hopes to shed light on the contentious issue of what comprises a master drawing —what is the role of artistic celebrity? How can drawings with different functions be compared? While we cannot provide definitive answers to these questions, we seek to explore aspects of this debate. We believe that every drawing here constitutes a master work. Some pieces show impeccable use of technique and medium, while others reveal artists’ reactions to issues of their time, or demonstrate how artistic styles have shifted over the centuries.
Esin Yunusoglu, Alicia Wang, Hannah Waxman, Kate Yung Yi Wang, Caroline Zhao (Class of 2019)
Masterpieces through the Ages
From simple sketches of inspiration to resplendent finished compositions, drawings capture the rawness of human emotion, expression and creativity. This installation showcases thirty drawings in the Princeton University Art Museum which span a diverse range of genres, time periods, and artists. Throughout the semester, we have attempted to understand the merits that a drawing must possess in order to be considered a “master drawing.” In fact, the meaning of “master drawing” has been revised over the ages, evolving from its associations with the master-student relationship in the guild, workshop, and academy to being considered synonymous with artistic excellence. From the finesse of the pen stroke to the splendor of colored washes, each of these drawings boasts qualities that transcend the ordinary and encapsulate the essence of what it takes to be considered a masterpiece.
Shea Minter, Kai Xin Tai, Timothy Thong, Tashi Treadway and Christopher Umanzor (Class of 2019)
This installation was organized during the fall 2015 semester by the students of “Freshman Seminar 101: Drawings Up Close,” taught by Professor Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann in the Department of Art and Archaeology and Laura M. Giles, Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, Curator of Prints and Drawings in the Princeton University Art Museum. The students chose thirty drawings from the Art Museum’s collections that were purchased fully or in part by the Department of Art and Archaeology’s Laura P. Hall Memorial Fund. This fund was endowed through the bequest of Princeton history professor Clifton R. Hall (1884–1945), whose collection of more than three hundred prints and drawings, is housed in the Art Museum.
Isaac blessing JacobIsaac blessing Jacob, ca. 1653–55
Nicolaes Maes, Dutch, 1634–1693
Recto and verso: figure studies for Leonidas at ThermopylaeRecto and verso: figure studies for Leonidas at Thermopylae, ca. 1814
Jacques-Louis David, French, 1748–1825
Alpine Landscape with Travelers near a VillageAlpine Landscape with Travelers near a Village, 1603–04
Roelandt Savery, Flemish, 1576–1639
Landscape with Coach at an Inn by a RiverbankLandscape with Coach at an Inn by a Riverbank, 1653
Jan van Goyen, Dutch, 1596–1656
Ceiling Design: Virgin Mary of Carmel with the Christ Child in Glory, attended by AngelsCeiling Design: Virgin Mary of Carmel with the Christ Child in Glory, attended by Angels, 1700s
Giuseppe Passeri, Italian, 1654–1714
Allegory Glorifying an Unknown PatronAllegory Glorifying an Unknown Patron, before 1743
Daniel Gran, Austrian, 1694–1757
Study for the Final Scene of Mozart's die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)Study for the Final Scene of Mozart's die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), 1864
Moritz von Schwind, Austrian, 1804–1871
Saint Matthew and the AngelSaint Matthew and the Angel, ca. 1753–54
Georg Anton Urlaub, German, 1713 - 1759
Castle of Chillon, Near View, Dent du Midi and Upper End of Lake GenevaCastle of Chillon, Near View, Dent du Midi and Upper End of Lake Geneva, 1821
Sir John Herschel, British, 1792–1871
Winter landscape with bridge and castleWinter landscape with bridge and castle, 1693
Pierre-Antoine Patel, called Patel the Younger, French, 1648–1707
Two Men Playing Racket Game in an InteriorTwo Men Playing Racket Game in an Interior,
attributed to Giulio Benso, Italian, 1592 - 1668
Design for an EpitaphDesign for an Epitaph, ca. 1757
Ignaz Günther, German, 1725–1775