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Drawing on Blue: European Drawings on Blue Paper, 1400s–1700s

Edited by Edina Adam and Michelle Sullivan

This engaging book highlights the role of blue paper in the history of drawing.

The rich history of blue paper, from the late fifteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries, illuminates themes of transcultural interchange, international trade, and global reach. Through the examination of significant works, this volume investigates considerations of supply, use, economics, and innovative creative practice. How did the materials necessary for the production of blue paper reach artistic centers? How were these materials produced and used in various regions? Why did they appeal to artists, and how did they impact artistic practice and come to be associated with regional artistic identities? How did commercial, political, and cultural relations, and the mobility of artists, enable the dispersion of these materials and related techniques? Bringing together the work of the world’s leading specialists, this striking publication is destined to become essential reading on the history, materials, and techniques of drawings executed on blue paper.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center January 30, 2024, through April 28, 2024.

Edina Adam is assistant curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Michelle Sullivan is associate conservator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

“The catalogue contains many insights into Early Modern drawing practice.”
—Caroline Fowler, The Burlington Magazine

Drawing on Blue is perhaps best intended for the purest kind of art historian — one who can deeply revel in the details of the conversation between artists, media, and advances that seem to be purely industrial or mechanical, but have unintended artistic applications.”
—Sarah Rose Sharp, Hyperallergic

160 pages
8 x 10 inches 
107 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-867-0 

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum