FRENCH DRAWINGS from the Fifteenth Century Through Gericault by Jean Vallery-Radot

FRENCH DRAWINGS from the Fifteenth Century Through Gericault

Email this review


Unlike paintings, works in pencil, pen, pastel, gouache--all loosely classifiable as drawings--are exhibited only infrequently and usually reproduced in black and white, so the Drawings of the Masters series rates a cheer for making a wide selection available in an approximation of the original medium, be it sepia wash or a full range of pastels. Differences in the texts, however, make the separate volumes of uneven value. Of the five new entries, the French volume has the least satisfactory text, running to grandiose and perfunctory statements. That for the Italian volume, on the other hand, is sequential and informative and makes repeated reference to the plates, identifying them by number. In the special case of Spain, few drawings exist by the masters (who were predominantly colorists), as Sr. Sánchez Cantón, director of the Prado, brings out; but by including choice examples by little-known artists and pinpointing their attributes, he produces a concise, discerning history of Spanish draftsmanship. Most immediate in interest and broadest in scope is Una Johnson's two-part contribution. In the first, she guides the neophyte through the various types of drawings and mediums, the new 20th-century movements and the contributions of individual artists; in the second, contemporary works are related to their precursors and astutely placed. Even the aficionado will find some unfamiliar examples among the Braques and Chagalls in the earlier part, while the selection of works in both parts is so varied and unhackneyed as to stimulate an interest in the subject in itself.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1976
Publisher: Little, Brown