Fresh Paint-Helen

Ink over Paint

Edward Bulwer-Lytton once said, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” but is it as mighty as the brush? When people visit an art museum or gallery, it might be a large painting or dainty sculpture that gives a lasting impression, but most likely not a drawing. In fact, most museums and galleries do not even display a lot of drawings, if any. Are drawings less valuable and “artistic” compared to paintings?

Of course they are not, but it does seem that drawings are not as popular as paintings because they are not “perfected” and “complete.”  This subject was brought up and discussed by Holland Cotter in his article, “The Pen, Mightier than the Brush.” The article mentions the Morgan Library Exhibit, “Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich,” which displays drawings from Michelangelo, Picasso, and other artists. The small drawings are mostly shriveled and torn apart which degrades the artworks’ values. However, people tend to overlook the idea that drawings are the foundation of other types of art. Many drawings are the simple black and white first drafts of beautified and intensely hued paintings. A drawing with no supplementary embellishments resembles an innocent child whereas a painting that is ornamented with colors and texture resembles adults. These drawings reveal the thought process of artists and the changes made from one piece to another. As stated in the article, Peter Paul Ruben’s drawing, a draft of his painting of Duke of Lerma, is a good example of this. The face in the drawing was not the duke’s, but that of Emperor Charles V of Spain. Historians later assumed that Ruben replaced the face of Emperor Charles in his painting and used him as a model.

As mentioned in the article, drawings are also significant documentaries that provide information about art that does not exist anymore. A drawing by German artist Egid Quirin Asam presents a sophisticated architectural design of a chapel with extreme details and complex interior structure. Although it was said that the chapel has never been built, this drawing still allows people to visualize how the chapel would look like in reality.

Some people may argue that these drawings are not as valuable as paintings because they are not perfected and lacks the texture and finishing of paintings. Although some drawings do lack colors and texture, there is even more meaning behind these simple and original pieces.  These drawings can serve as blueprints for imagination where the artists convey ideas that the observer can expand on and develop. For those who say drawings are produced with cheaper materials such as pen and paper compared to canvases and  paint, is it the supplies the determines the value? If that is the case, then the purpose of viewing art is destroyed. Others say that ink and paper are easily damaged and does not last as long as paintings, but does that not make it more precious?

Drawings itself are masterpieces. They are the products of the art of originality and conceptualizing.

14 thoughts on “Fresh Paint-Helen

  1. I think that drawings should be considered just as valuable as paintings. True, painting have the advantage of being beautiful and ornate finished products. But, drawing have the advantage of being raw and untainted. I like the analogy of drawings vs paintings to children vs adults. While there is undoubtedly a beauty to something that is complete and embellished (like a painting), there is also an intrinsic beauty in something raw and pure (like a drawing).

  2. I do not think that the supplies determines the value of a piece of art. Rather i think the Idea that is display in the piece is what makes it valuable. i totally agree with you that drawings itself are masterpieces, because it shows the development of the painting. SInce ink and paper are easily damaged i do think that drawings are more precious because you can not preserve them.
    i think the reason why people dont really appreciate drawings nowadays is because everyone thinks only about the end masterpiece. People are superficial in that they only care about the finished painting because the finished painting is what is consider beauty, by society. However, everyone neglect the fact that drawings are the foundation of painting, with out drawings there would be no painting.

  3. I agree with the idea that drawings are just as valuable as paintings and that an artwork’s value cannot be determined by the materials used to produce it. It is rather unfair to compare the two in terms of value simply based on texture or color because the techniques and materials used for the two forms of art are completely different. I think people are just naturally drawn to more ornate pieces at first glance because they pop out, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those pieces are more valuable than those that lack color. Each category of art has its own distinct features that makes it valuable.

  4. A smart guy once said beauty is in the eye beholder and there is reason for why these words of wisdom have kept so long. I concur with everyone that said the drawings are as much as art as paintings, sculptures, canvases, and etc. Drawings are a different form of art and there are people that value them more than other forms of art for reasons that can’t all be traced back and specified. Art appreciation is in the eye of the beholder and if there are enough people that think and agree some thing is valuable and is a form of art, then it must be!

  5. Pencil drawings can be extremely complex. I took an engineering/drafting class in high school where they made us draw interior spaces as well as complex structures such as gothic architecture. I’m sure Egid Quirin Asam’s drawing of the cathedral is phenomenal. Pencil drawings such as these are the foundation and groundwork for good brush paintings; without them many brush paintings wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be nearly as great. So I do not believe that pencil drawings are any less valuable or artistic; I would even argue that they are more valuable than brush paintings. There is a lot of skill and knowledge that goes into making a pencil drawing, things about perspective and shading, that make pencil drawings so complex. I think it would be a great idea for someone to found a museum devoted to pencil drawings and pencil art.

    • I love drawings, among them sketches by Rembrandt and Degas. There is, in fact, a museum Michael. The Drawing Center in Soho (33 Wooster street). It houses galleries, holds exhibitions and public events and has a bookstore. Isn’t New York grand!

  6. While I agree that sketches and drawings are every bit as creative and beautiful as paintings, I am likely to pay more for the painting than the drawing. I believe society has already implemented in our minds that paintings give off a greater classy feeling while sketches look a bit weaker in comparison. When you walk into a house or a building, you’re most likely going to find paintings on the wall than sketches. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of photographs than either of the other choices. While paintings and sketches are created from imagination, creativity and inspiration, I like how photographs can capture the moment the scene. I am a much bigger fan of realistic scenes than abstract ones.

    However, the best thing about art is that it can be critiqued differently according to the taste of the person. Just because I don’t find a greater value in sketches doesn’t mean the next person will agree with me. So to answer your question, supplies do not determine the value of an art piece, I think the people who appreciate the specific piece determine the value. After all, they are the ones who will offer a price in the end. (This is not to say value is synonymous with cash though.)

  7. I think drawings are as beautiful and valuable as paintings in a museum. I think maybe why there is not as much attention given to drawings as paintings, because everyone can draw. Many of us during classes find ourselves drawing aimlessly and making of sketches of random things. Though many of us do not consider this art. I think this conception that paintings are more valuable than drawings and sketches, because many people just care about the end product. People value the colorful end masterpiece rather than the hard work that is needed to undergo to actually make it. I’d like to see more drawings and sketches in museums.

  8. I personally believe that drawings can sometimes be even more intricate and beautiful than paintings. Whenever I see a pen or pencil drawing, I am always in awe. The fact that drawings utilize only the shades of a color and a smaller arrangement of utensils to create an image that can portray everything a painting can is just breathtaking. Drawings have their own appeal and their own unique characteristics that can’t be so easily compared to those of paintings. Drawings can be rough and lack a sort of finished look to it, but drawings are in no way less valuable than paintings.

  9. I agree that paintings should be considered masterpieces but I can understand why they are not as popular as paintings. The word drawing suggests something in its preliminary stage that has yet to be completed, mush like the word “sketch”. When we look at art, we want to see the artists final message and work and sometimes we don’t get that with a drawing because of its flaws or even its size. A drawing does neet suggest finality, so as a society, sometimes we just wish to see the final product and not the process it took to get there.

  10. I think drawings can be just as valuable, if not more valuable than certain paintings. Like you wrote in your fresh paint, drawings tend to be the blueprints for a lot of paintings. The drawings are exceptional in themselves. Art in itself is about visual as well, the materials used and how long the art will actually last shouldn’t matter. It should be about how it looks and the affect it has on people.

  11. I tink that drawings are very under appreciated. They may not often be as visually interesting as other forms of art, but I think that they are also very artistically important. Drawings are the blueprint of many other forms of art and I think that people overlook that way too often.

  12. I think that drawings take as much motivation and effort to make as paintings do. Paintings draw more attention because of their vibrant colors and outlandish designs. But the simplicity of drawings makes it that much harder to come up with an original idea and execute it. Drawings should be given more praise and notice for these reasons.

  13. I entirely agree with you. There really is no way to decide what can be accepted as art. Art is what people find beauty and meaning in. As such, you can’t base such a decision on the medium that it’s created in, whether it be marble, oil on canvas or pencil on paper. If someone creates something wonderful through a drawing, it should not be considered lesser than a painting simply because of he medium.

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