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Inspired by master draughtmanship

Albrecht Dürer, Dog resting, c.1520, silverpoint over charcoal? on pale pink prepared paper, 128 x 180mm. Copyright The Trustees of the British Museum

Drawing is one of our main passions here at EJS headquarters, drawing in pencil, charcoal, ink - you name it! So when we spied the British Museum's new Drawing in Silver and Gold exhibition we were intrigued and headed down to fill up on inspiration.

Top: Leonardo da Vinci, Bust of a warrior, c.1475, silverpoint, on cream prepared paper, 287 x 211mm. Left: Filippino Lippi, Two male nudes, c.1485-8, Silverpoint and leadpoint on grey preparation 259 x 185mm Right: Hendrik Goltzius, Self portrait holding a copper-plate, c.1589, silverpoint on yellow prepared vellum with grey and blue-grey wash, 146 x 104mm. All images Copyright of The Trustees of the British Museum

The collection of drawings focuses on the development of metalpoint in Europe over six centuries, from Leonardo to more contemporary works. Around 100 drawings display the fine technique which unites Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Leonardo and Rembrant with more contemporary artists like Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman or Susan Schwalb. The skilled metalpoint process they use is where a metal stylus, normally made of silver, is used to draw onto a roughened preparation so a trace of the metal is left on the surface. Once a mark is made it's difficult to remove, so artists must carefully plan their design.

The technique was popular in Italy for training and studies during the 16th and 17th centuries but was moved aside when chalk came into use. Admiration for the Renaissance period in the 19th century increased its popularity again and continues in contemporary art practice today.

Top: Rogier van der Weyden, Portrait of an unknown young woman, c.1435, silverpoint on cream prepared paper, 166 x 116mm Copyright of The Trustees of the British Museum Left: Jasper Johns, Untitled, 1984, silverpoint on white prepared paper, 438 x 346mm (collection of the artist) Right: Raphael, Head of the Virgin and four studies of heads (by a childish hand) c. 1502-1503, Silverpoint over stylus on grey-white prepared paper, 257 x 190mm Copyright of The Trustees of the British Museum 

Still lost in our renaissance dream, we stopped next door to the drawings for the Egypt: faith after the pharaohs exhibition. Exploring 1,200 years of Egyptian history, the exhibition looks at the lives of different religious communities such as Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths and how the transitions seen over this period shaped the world we live in today.

Top: Standing figure of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, wearing Roman military costume. Bronze, Egypt, 1st-2nd century AD Left: Seated figure of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, wearing Roman military costume, limestone, Egypt, 1st-2nd century AD Right: Gravestone of 'Abraham, the perfected monk', Egypt, 7th century AD. All images Copyright of The Trustees of the British Museum

Feeling inspired by the Egypt: faith after the pharaohs exhibition we wandered over to peruse the museum's permanent collection which boasts an impressive display of Egyptian artefacts.

After a day of inspiration and culture our sketchbooks are full! Be sure to indulge in the history and art on offer at the British Museum this Autumn and discover drawings inspired by our outings here.

Drawings in silver and gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns

10th September - 6th December 2015

Tickets: £8.00, children under 16 free. Booking strongly recommended

Egypt: faith after the pharaohs

29th October 2015 - 7th February 2016

Tickets: £10 plus a range of concessions, children under 16 free.

The British Museum

Room 90

Great Russell Street, London


Open Monday - Thursday 10am - 5.30pm, Fridays 10am - 8.30pm, Weekends 9am - 5.30pm


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