Skip navigation

Art History Course

Drawings of the Great Masters


For centuries drawing has been at the heart of art making. It was a skill students had to master before becoming professional artists.

But drawings are often overlooked in favour of their showy painted counterparts. This is a pity, since drawings are closer to the artist's initial inspiration and nearly always, unlike many Old Master paintings, solely by the artist's own hand.

But why is Leonardo's famous cartoon in the National Gallery no joke? Why do lead pencils contain no lead? And can you spot 'bracelet shading', 'hatching' or 'stippling'? When might an artist have made a squared drawing or a presentation sketch?

We will discover the different uses of drawings from student copies to finished illustration and explore the styles and techniques of the Great Masters from the Renaissance to the present. There will be opportunity to handle a range of materials.