National Gallery Complex - The Mound
The Mound
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Raphael to Renoir
dal 4/6/2009 al 5/9/2009

Segnalato da

The National Galleries of Scotland

calendario eventi  :: 


Raphael to Renoir

National Gallery Complex - The Mound, Edinburgh

Master Drawings from the Collection of Jean Bonna. A a rare opportunity to view outstanding examples of European drawings spanning some 500 years, from the Italian Renaissance to late nineteenth-century France.

comunicato stampa

This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view outstanding examples of European drawings spanning some 500 years, from the Italian Renaissance to late nineteenth-century France. It consists of 120 drawings, watercolours and pastels by many of the greatest names in Western art acquired over the past twenty years by Swiss collector Jean Bonna. Works on show include those by Old Masters such as Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain, Canaletto and, from the nineteenth century, Ingres, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne and Gauguin.

Highlights include Raphael's Study of Soldiers, Parmigianino's The Holy Family with Shepherds and Angels, an exquisite watercolour of a Wild Boar Piglet by Hans Hoffmann, an atmospheric Woman in a White Bonnet by George Seurat, and Odilon Redon's vibrant pastel, La Barque. By coincidence, major drawings by Watteau and Gauguin are preparatory for paintings in the Gallery's permanent collection.

The show has been organised in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where it was shown earlier this year. The National Gallery Complex in Edinburgh will be the only European venue.

A recently retired banker from Geneva, Jean Bonna discovered his passion for collecting at an early age. His first love was books, and he has formed an important library which is especially strong in French printed books. Inspired in part by book illustrations, he progressed to collecting old master prints and, a little later, drawings.

In the space of just two decades, Bonna has amassed one of the most impressive collections of drawings, watercolours and pastels formed anywhere in recent years. It now numbers about 400 works in total, ranging from the early fifteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

In selecting his acquisitions, Bonna has very much been guided by his own tastes and instincts rather than following fashion or the advice of others. This lends the collection as a whole a distinctive and personal flavour. Drawings often represent the artist’s first ideas, offering a special insight into the creative process, and it is this in particular that Bonna finds fascinating.

In terms of date, subject matter and media, the Bonna collection of drawings is richly diverse. It includes religious, mythological and allegorical subjects, portraits and natural history drawings, but its greatest strengths numerically are figure studies – especially of the female form – and landscapes. Vibrantly coloured pastels and watercolours hang alongside more monochromatic sheets in chalk, pen and ink or charcoal. The beauty of the drawings is enhanced by the carefully chosen period frames which surround them.

As a private collection formed by one man according to his own tastes, some artistic movements and periods are much better represented than others. The exhibition boasts many important drawings from the Italian renaissance and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in France, whereas British drawings, the French baroque and Neoclassicism as a whole barely feature.

Draughtsmen as diverse as Parmigianino, Claude Lorrain, Géricault, Degas and Redon are among Bonna’s favourites, and all of them are well represented in the exhibition.

‘I think when you are a collector it’s a disease that is very difficult to cure, and I was born a collector. I think real collectors don’t stop collecting. Sometimes their interests change. Sometimes they sharpen their taste. Sometimes financial conditions force them to collect other things. But when you are a collector, you continue to buy and you continue to add to your collection.’

‘While I have bought some books I didn’t like, to fill a void in my collection, I have never purchased a drawing I didn’t like. It is very rare that I buy something I have not immediately fallen in love with’.

‘Although there are a few exceptions, there are two qualities that really appeal to me in a drawing, which are grace and harmony.’

‘The great majority of my collection consists of landscapes and pretty women, which are nice to look at. I have extremely few difficult works’.

‘Drawings are more immediate than prints, more intimate. They are often the first trial of an artist and therefore more spontaneous.’

‘Probably my taste has evolved a bit, but it has never left the figurative. I have nothing abstract, nothing in that field.’

A small selection from works on show in Raphael to Renoir. Select the OPEN links to read more about a work, and select the image to enlarge it.

Image: 1578 - A Wild Boar Piglet - Hans Hoffmann
Watercolour and gouache on vellum
Collection of Jean Bonna, Geneva.

National Gallery Complex
Royal Scottish Academy Building (entry via Princes Street Gardens) - Edinburgh
Admission: GBP 4 (3)

George Bain
dal 13/10/2011 al 12/2/2012

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