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Drawings for Paintings: The Creative Process

Jacques de Gheyn II, Crossbowman Assisted by a Milkmaid, c. 1600–10. Brown ink, gray and brown wash over black and red chalk on off-white antique laid paper, incised, framing line in brown ink, mounted on a gilt and hand-colored mount of blue paper.
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Meta and Paul J. Sachs, 1953.86.

Lecture M. Victor Leventritt Lecture

Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

How did 17th-century Dutch artists use drawings to design their paintings? Arthur Wheelock, curator of northern Baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and a leading authority on Dutch art, will tackle the question by sharing exciting new research.

Dutch theorists emphasized the importance of drawing in a painter’s training, but they rarely explained how artists should use drawings in the painting process. This lecture will discuss types of drawings that are relevant to paintings, including compositional sketches, figure studies, and carefully rendered construction drawings. Particular attention will be paid to underdrawings that artists made on their panels and canvases to guide them in their work.

This lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, on view at the Harvard Art Museums May 21–August 14, 2016.

We invite you to arrive before the lecture to view the exhibition from 3–4pm. Please stop by the admissions desk to receive a complimentary pass.

Free admission

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.