1,142 artworks, 224 artists
Pen drawing is a technique of using a quill or a metal pen to make an image. It appeared in the Middle Ages and has not lost its popularity in the 21st century. The medium is ink, the base is paper or a canvas covered with white paint. The colour of the lines, strokes and dots ranged from grey or brown to black. Artists used this drawing method to create sketches, studies and drawings from life.
Pen drawings are among the oldest fine art techniques, which combine visual conciseness, sharpness and expressiveness. Michelangelo called the art of sketching “...the highest peak of painting, sculpture and architecture.” Pen drawings conveyed the individual handwriting of the master, his inner world, emotions and experiences. Deliberate or accidental movement, change of pressure instantly embodied the idea and reflected the state of the artist. The image was not subjected to correction or editing, each stroke was the first and final. In all ages, artists and art connoisseurs have extremely highly valued pen drawings and sketches, considered them the artist’s revelation.
Renaissance painters Raphael and Sandro Botticelli used pen and ink to create sketches of future masterpieces and literary illustrations. Hieronymus Bosch pioneered the technique of drawing with a quill and water-soluble pigments. The Hearing Forest and the Seeing Field, Two Monsters, The Man-Tree frighten and fascinate the viewer no less than the paintings of the artist. Rembrandt van Rijn left a rich graphic heritage — more than 1,500 quill-drawn sheets — and earned the title of the drawing titan. The Dutchman’s works, executed in a dozen strokes, are laconic, careless, angular ... and ingenious. In the mid-19th century, American artist Charles Gibson revived interest in pen drawings. The artist embodied the phenomenon of “Gibson girls”, the ideal of beauty at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, in his series of elegant graphic works that brought him fame and fortune.
Famous pen drawings:
Illustrations for the Divine Comedy 1488 by Sandro Botticelli; The Man-Tree, The Hearing Forest and the Seeing Field 1500 by Hieronymus Bosch; Woman Carrying a Child Downstairs 1636, Reclining Nude 1656 by Rembrandt van Rijn; Gibson Girl 1900 Her Poise, her Unconsciousness, the Winning Simplicity of Her Manner Were Noticed Everywhere 1910 Charles Dana Gibson.
Famous artists:
Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, Hieronymus Bosch, Hendrik Goltzius, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francesco Hayez, Charles Dana Gibson.