Investigations into the Notion of Sculptors’ Drawings as a Type in Renaissance Tuscany

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Hicks, Ian
Sculpture , Drawing
The notion of a sculptural type of drawing is often summarily included in critical literature. These references tend to be brief and regularly contradict one another. Furthermore, drawings made by Tuscan sculptors of the sixteenth century are often neglected altogether. This thesis investigates the notion of a sculptural type of drawing and attempts to understand more clearly the appearance and purpose of drawings made by sixteenth-century sculptors working in central Italy. In order to understand this notion, the history of drawings for sculpture and the literature related to them should be examined. Individual artists from whom a number of drawings survive must be studied separately before being related to one another as a group. This investigation utilizes several methodologies: the early history of drawings for sculpture is recreated from information contained in contemporary written documents and contracts; the literature related to the characterization of inherently sculptural qualities is reevaluated against the surviving visual material; the attributions made to lesser-known sixteenth-century sculptors are scrutinized; and, finally, the drawings executed by sculptors are placed in the broader context of sixteenth-century draughtsmanship. This investigation reveals that some drawings exhibit a functional approach that explores the challenges of preparing a three-dimensional work of art. Such an approach is, however, not unique to sculptors, whose drawings employ an approach that cannot be separated from those by painters. These similarities are significant because they reveal several misunderstandings concerning graphic characteristics often understood to be inherently sculptural, and a history of incorrect attributions based on these assumptions.
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