Sunday, October 7, 2012


           The subject of this Renaissance drawing exhibition is angels.  During the Renaissance, religious paintings continued to be as popular as in previous eras – though the style of drawing changed drastically.  The drawings chosen here demonstrate the artists’ ability to create movement and the illusion of flight.  Each drawing reflects this, though the mediums are all different. 
God the Father Supported by Angels,
photo courtesy of ArtStor
The first in the exhibition, God the Father Supported by Angels, was drawn in 1530 by Il Pordenone.  It is made with pen and brown ink and gray wash, heightened with white, on green-gray laid paper. It depicts a twisted, upward turned Father, carried upward by three baby angels.  The mastery in this piece is within the human bodies, both in their structure and movement.  There is an intense amount of depth in their muscles.  The shading on their bodies create a sense of movement, as well as the flowing sheet which arches over the Father, grasped by an angel. 
Next, a red chalk drawing by Federico Zuccaro in 1563, is entitled The Dead Christ Supported by Angels.  It depicts Christ carried to heaven and surrounded by flying angels.  Once again, the angels surrounding Christ are babies, though this time winged. They appear serene as they fly amongst the clouds.
The Dead Christ Supported by Angels,
photo courtesy of ArtStor
Third in this installment is a brown oil painting, heightened with white on light brown paper.  Entitled Fall of the Rebel Angels and drawn in 1580-85 by Jacopo Palma il Giovane, it is a rough blended drawing depicting a great fight between angels.  The construction of this piece is very dynamic.  The winged angel at the top brings the eye downward to the upheaval.  Though it is roughly drawn, there is intense movement and a good amount of depth in the bodies of these angels.  They are typical classically perfect bodies.
Fall of the Rebel Angels, photo
courtesy of ArtStor
Lastly is an ink drawing from an unknown date by Luca Cambioso, entitled Angels in Glory.  In this drawing, winged baby angels seem to fly down from the heavens, playing and flying around each other.  Paired in groups of two, they fly in dynamic disarray.  This drawing has less intensity than the previous three, but it does depict beautiful movement and realism, though it has no shading.  The plump angels move about, facing forward and back, with a good sense of perspective.
Angels in Glory, photo courtesy
of ArtStor
There are several aspects of these drawings which tie them together.  First is the obvious use of babies as angels, which became very popular during the High Renaissance.  Second is the attention to idealized bodies, in the Father, Christ, and Fall of the Rebel Angels.  Taken from Classical tradition, this idealized human body became much more popular during the High Renaissance, a fact which is present here.

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