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Drawings - General

Drawing is a two-dimensional art form accomplished with many different mediums. Graphite pencils or ink and paper are most popular, but drawings can be done with a variety of color and monochrome utensils on cardboard, plastic, leather, or canvas. While it has transformed into a 21st-century art form through technological tools for the phone, tablet, and computer, drawing is one of the earliest creative endeavors. Homo sapiens began to draw as a way to communicate with one another before written language was developed.

The use of drawing in the arts increased exponentially when paper became readily available to the masses in the 14th century. During the Renaissance, drawing was brought to the forefront as a means to depict realistic forms, geometry, and philosophy. Although masters like da Vinci, Durer, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rubens, Degas, van Gogh, and Picasso are all accomplished draughtsmen, drawing is often thought of as an intermediate form of art. Some artists employ underdrawing as a preparatory step in their painting, and many use it to flesh out their ideas before beginning a finished product in paint or marble.

After the advent of photography, drawing moved to the background as a way to realistically depict figures and environments; however, it is still used today as a primary or secondary form of artistic expression. Drawings command equally high prices at auction as paintings or sculptures. “Beach Scene with a Boat” by contemporary artist Lucian Freud sold for $4.3 million at Sotheby’s London in 2011, a record for a drawing by that artist. A year later, a Raphael sketch called “Head of a Young Apostle” sold at the same house for $47.8 million, an overall record for a work on paper to that date.

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