|Michelangelo Buonarotti, "Study of a Mourning Woman, ca 1500|
Because these works are difficult to attribute, quite often the only evidence at hand to determine the why, who, how, when and so on is the actual drawing. This exhibit shows the visitor how these kinds of art are investigated, from working on attribution by stylistic comparisons. An excellent example is the drawing by Michelangelo (right) of a mourning woman. This particular drawing, though unsigned, is very much in the style of the master, and further analysis confirmed the impression of an auction house expert.
|Lorenzo di Credi, "Head of a Boy Crowned with Laurel," ca 1500|
For me, the important thing is the drawings themselves. That is, if the drawing is effective and well made it is interesting. Study of these sorts of works gives the working artist an opportunity to speculate on how they were made, what the artist was thinking while laying down red or black chalk or ink lines. How did he (or rarely, she) accomplish this feat of legerdemain, representing three dimensions in two? Attribution is important because it gives us a clue about where to look for more examples of the mastery we're seeing; for the "art world" of course, it allows assignment of financial value. But the actual art is considerably more interesting. Happily, there is a book from the Getty that includes many of these drawings (available on the museum website and also from Amazon) that provides many closeups and discussions.
My regret about this show is that like many it's not possible for me to visit. If you live in the area, take time to visit the Getty and see this show. After all, it's free.
|Titian, "Pastoral Scene," ca 1565|
|Parmagianino, "Head of a Young Man," ca 1540|
|Pollauido (attrib), "Head of a Young Man," ca 1470|