Sunday, November 6, 2011

Italian Master Drawings from the Wolfgang Ratjen Collection: 1525–1835

Where: National Gallery of Art, Main Building

When: through November 27, 2011

In 2007, the National Gallery purchased this collection of 65 drawings from the estate of Wolfgang Ratjen.  This is the first time they have been exhibited.

I must confess, I was not terribly excited to go see this show.  I don't much care for pen and ink drawings - I prefer art with much more color.  There were, however, a few items that caught my eye:

  • Leandro Bassano's "Man Lifting a Bundle" is a wonderful depiction of human musculature
  • Guiseppe Zocchi's "View of Rome" reminded me of the Venetian view paintings I saw several months ago
  • Canaletto's drawing of a Venetian festival (pictured above) is amazing for the detail he's able to give to a teaming multitude
  • Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo's "Two Rampaging Elephants" is remarkable, not for its accuracy, but for its inaccuracy - it's obvious he had never seen an elephant!
Verdict: If you like drawings, go see this show.  Even if you don't, there's something worthwhile to see.   It's small enough that you can fit it into a lunch hour, especially if you don't dawdle over each work.

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