By Old Master hand drawings, we mean studies in the service of a painting or a sculpture. Even though the preparatory studies of the Old Masters possess a high artistic value, one must bear in mind that only during modern times did drawing achieve status as an independent art genre. Nevertheless, the importance of drawings is increasing, especially with the Old Masters; in connection with the development of printing, the graphic medium of drawing was also used more frequently. In Germany, it experienced a blossoming with the Old Masters Dürer and Holbein the Younger; in the Italian Renaissance, drawing became a proper criterion for a good painting: in this way, "il disegno" designated on the one hand the artistic genius in the sense of an idea of a picture invention, on the other however also the exact contour and preciseness in the realization of naturalistic content. In general, the interest in drawings lies also in the possibility of simply alluding to or leaving out completely certain parts of a picture in order to concentrate more fully on an area that one would like to examine more closely. Sketches for paintings, for example, could indicate the figuration of a picture simply in lines. Precisely this sketch-like quality lends the drawings a certain modernity. At the same time, depending on what one is drawing with, one can achieve different effects. Ink drawings, such as they are known for example from Cranach, have a very linear effect; these achieve pictorial value in connection with transformation into water color. When one uses charcoal or chalk, some parts can be erased, a technique that was used universally after 1500.
Related artists: Baumgartner, Johann Wolfgang | Bloemaert, Abraham | Boscoli, Andrea | Candid (Candido), Peter | Giacometti, Alberto | Goyen, Jan van | Gran, Daniel | Hackert, Jacob Philipp | Hofmann, Ludwig von | Kauffmann, Angelica | Koester, Alexander | Loth, Johann Carl | Menzel, Adolph von | Rembrandt, Harmensz. van Rijn | Rottenhammer, Hans | Spranger, Bartholomew | Steinlen, Théophile Alexandre | Tappert, Georg | Tibaldi, Pellegrino | Weber, A. Paul | Zille, Heinrich