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Paper and Light: Luminous Drawings

Available October 2024

Julian Brooks and Michelle Sullivan

This volume looks at the techniques and materials that artists have utilized since the Renaissance to create spectacular light effects in drawings.

The treatment of light and shadow is one of the building blocks of drawing. From techniques such as highlights and reserves, to material selection and the creation of translucent tracing paper, to the use of light as a medium for viewing artworks, artists for hundreds of years have found innovative and dazzling ways to create light on a sheet of paper.

This publication examines the central relationship between paper and light in the world of drawings in western European art from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Focusing on drawings from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as works from the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, and others, and featuring masterful works by such artists as Parmigianino, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolas Poussin, Odilon Redon, Edgar Degas, and Georges Seurat, Paper and Lightwill entice readers to look longer and more closely at drawings, deriving an even deeper appreciation for the skill and labor that went into them.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from October 15, 2024, to January 19, 2025.

Julian Brooks is senior curator and head of the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Michelle Sullivan is associate conservator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

112 pages
8 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches
145 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-930-1

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum