Exercises in Creativity: Italian Drawings, 1500–1800

Giuseppe Cades (Italian, 1750–1799), <em>Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert</em>, after 1770, pen, brown ink and wash over black chalk squared in black. On extended loan from Mr. John D. Reilly ’63, L1988.010.005.

Giuseppe Cades (Italian, 1750–1799), Hagar and Ishmael in the Desert, after 1770, pen, brown ink and wash over black chalk squared in black. On extended loan from Mr. John D. Reilly ’63, L1988.010.005.

SNITE Museum of Art April 3–May 15, 2011

Seminar students of Associate Professor, Art, Art History and Design, Robert Randolf Coleman organized this exhibition of old master drawings selected from the Museum’s collection. Thanks to the benevolence of Mr. John D. Reilly ’63, the collection of old master drawings has grown to over 540 studies, sketches, and finished works in pen, pencil, chalk, and charcoal by significant European artists. 

The regard for drawing as fundamental to the creative process and the appreciation of its status as an independent aesthetic endeavor have their origins in the Italian renaissance. Through the efforts of students who have studied the technical and physical aspects of each drawing shown here as well as the intellectual underpinnings that motivated them, visitors to this exhibition gained deeper insights into some of Italy’s best-known masters, including Agostino Carracci, Sebastiano Ricci, and Jacopo Tintoretto. They were also introduced to less familiar artists who are equally representative of the social, political, or theological contexts that gave rise to these exercises in creativity.