Famous Artists

Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino – 1483 – April 6, 1520)

raphael drawings2
Source: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/may/30/raphael-the-drawings-review-a-magnificent-mind-opening-exhibition

An Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

Raphael, another master of human anatomy, often began his figure sketching with an under drawing using a stylus. The sharp tip of this instrument left faint impressions on the surface of the paper. He then drew with red chalk over the impressions when he was satisfied with the outline. An example is his study for the Phrygian Sibyl (1511, British Museum). This female figure is wearing classical drapery and has very masculine arms and legs (she was probably drawn from a male model). Many of Raphael’s drawings are finished to a high-degree, with white highlights and shading. He often relied on drawings to refine his poses for his paintings, and judging by the large amount of surviving sketches, he was more prolific in this area than Michelangelo and Leonardo.

More links on Raphael https://www.raphaelsanzio.org/


Michelangelo MichelangeloCreationofAdam

A prolific draughtsman, sketcher and exponent of figurative art. After the death of Raphael in 1520 he dominated Renaissance art for another 40 years. His primary interest was the male nude and he relentlessly sketched figures in different poses in an attempt to undercover the essence of their spirit. He executed numerous preliminary studies for his two masterpiece sculptures, the Pieta and David, as well as copies of sketches for his landmark Genesis fresco (1508-12) and Last Judgment fresco (1536-41), painted on the ceiling and altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. (See also: the Creation of Adam.) Michelangelo’s other drawings encompass works in pen and ink, pen and wash, charcoal as well as red and black chalks. He never intended most of his drawings to be exhibited in public and would have been horrified at the thought. Biographers speculate it was perhaps because he wished to conceal the amount of preparation work he did for his major works. In fact, just before he died he burnt a lot of his drawings. One exception perhaps was his drawing Tityus (1533, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle). Tityus was a gift and one of the first drawings to be considered an artwork in its own right.

Other useful links: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michelangelo


An Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, artist, geologist, cartographerbotanist, and writer. Leonardo da Vinci  is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.

Leonardo was a master of topographic human anatomy, executing a large number of detailed sketches of muscles, tendons and other anatomical features. He intended to publish his drawings in a treatise on anatomy, but on his death in 1519, the drawings remained unpublished among his private papers. Their significance was lost to the world for 400 years but today they can be viewed in the British Royal Art Collection at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. He strove to depict the universal nature of man. Among his drawings he listed ‘joy, with different ways of laughing’, as well as the ’cause of laughter’. He strove to capture the different movements of killing, ‘flight, fear, ferocity, boldness’ as well as ‘weeping in different ways’. Not happy with depicting the human figure on the outside, Leonardo wanted to know what made them tick on the inside. In the 1500s the Black Death plagued Europe, and the artist made the most of the opportunity by dissecting as many corpses as he could lay his hands on. He was probably one of the first artists to accurately draw the human reproductive system. Other masterpieces by Leonardo include: Head of Girl, (study for Virgin of the Rocks 1483) executed with silverpoint on light brown paper; Five Grotesque Heads (1494), pen and ink drawing.

Other useful links: https://www.leonardoda-vinci.org/