The Epic and the Intimate: French Drawings from the John D. Reilly Collection

The Epic and the Intimate catalogDownload The Epic and the Intimate catalog (4.1MB PDF)

Snite Museum of Art – University of Notre Dame

Before drawing gained its autonomy from painting, sculpture, and architecture in the twentieth century, it was regarded as a means of ordering reality. It was understood to be the fundamental basis of all creative activity. People learned to draw in order to be able to see, to analyze, and to know. The study of drawings therefore offers us insights into material culture and the history of ideas, including attitudes toward originality, authenticity, and virtuosity. As a physical manifestation of the principles that motivated France's Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, which served as a model for academies across Europe and North America, French drawings are especially revelatory.

The Snite's holdings of French drawings comprise about five hundred works, over half of which come from the John D. Reilly '63 Collection of Old Master and Nineteenth-Century Drawings. The drawings discussed in this publication present a concise survey of the history of French drawings, from before the establishment of the Royal Academy in 1648 through the French Revolution in 1789 and subsequent political upheavals.

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