Drawing, as we know it in Europe and America today, consists
of a tradition that began in the Renaissance. It was conditioned above
all by three factors.
- Artists began to abandon
the relatively stable authority of workshop models in favor of specific
examples observed in the material world.
This desire to imitate
concrete references in nature made it
necessary to study
the direct rendering of visual data through constant practice in drawing.
- Artists began to study
the antique not only with close attention to detail, but with careful
adherence to the formal character of the artifacts, or style, whether
through following the system of proportion of the ancient models or
details of execution.
formal structure of their finished works became considerably more complex.
In pursuing the illusion of visual experience of the material world,
artists of the early fifteenth century established a convention of imitating
the apparent differences in the size of objects in space through a consistent
mathematical system. This
demanded extensive preparation through drawings.
- At the same time the established
functions of the artworks
in the public and private spaces, both secular and sacred, in which
they were viewed continued to require the communication of complex intellectual
and spiritual meanings.
Just at this time paper became
more plentiful and less expensive and enabled artists to achieve these
goals in a practical way. This new system of work placed heavy demands
on drawing, and the range of functions it required determined the nature
of the drawings that have come down to us.