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Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance drawings

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entitled Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance drawings will be on display at the British Museum from April 22 to July 25, 2010.

This major exhibition features 100 exquisite drawings by Italian Renaissance artists including Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Verrocchio among others.

Drawn from the holdings of the British Museum and the Uffizi in Florence, the two foremost collections in the field, the display charts the increasing importance of drawing during this period, featuring works by Leonardo da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, Botticelli, Carpaccio, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, Michelangelo, Verrocchio and Titian.

In 15th-century Italy there was a fundamental shift in style and artistic thinking in the use of preparatory drawings. What began as a means of preserving artistic ideas became the ideal way to perfect more naturalistic forms and perspective – a new approach by painters, sculptors and architects.

Infrared and other technology used in conservation research provide fresh insights into how drawing allowed painters to experiment and explore with a freedom not always reflected in their finished works. Examples in the exhibition show the trend towards depiction of movement and expression of emotion, often inspired by classical antiquity.

This exhibition is a unique opportunity to discover the evolution of drawing which laid the foundations of the High Renaissance style of Michelangelo and Raphael.

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British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG