The Flemish Drawings in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle

The Flemish Drawings in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle

The Flemish Drawings in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle

The Flemish Drawings in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle

Excerpt

The importance of Old Master drawings needs little emphasis to-day, when it is universally recognized that to understand the art of a painter we should also know his drawings. Occasionally we find an artist capable of relying entirely upon his imagination and able to paint his pictures without preparatory studies. Such for instance was Rubens. When he drew from nature it was merely to exercise eye and hand; his studies for compositions are extremely rare and belong to his first epoch. Van Dyck on the other hand had to make many studies before achieving a satisfactory composition. This is the case with most artists. Thus the study of drawings throws light on the often complicated activity of the creative mind and on the development of the expressive power. Drawings offer us the attractive opportunity of perceiving the first artistic intentions of the artists, their doubts, their gropings, their failures and their successes, and thus help us to follow the curve of improvement in the progress through hesitation to confidence. But Old Master drawings present other interests, which our scientific age is apt to overlook. They are works of art in their own right. They offer the beauty of their calligraphy, of their shapes and groupings. Couched in the individual shorthand of the artist, they remain a spontaneous record of what it was that their creator was at that moment striving to express.

Nowhere was the proper charm of artistic drawings more fully appreciated than in England, where there were never lacking men of culture and means to savour the exquisite joys of Old Master drawings in the comfort of their well-appointed print-rooms. In no country do we find so many old collections of drawings, assembled by successive generations of finely appreciative amateurs.

Of these the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle . . .

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