Studio: international art — 29.1903

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Drawings by Old Masters


The exhibition now filling the
walls of the single gallery of the
British Museum allotted to the
Print Room consists of drawings
acquired for the nation during the
last six or seven years. The sole
exceptions are ten German draw-
ings which have been in the
Museum since 1753, as part of
Sir Hans Sloane's bequest: but
as it is only quite recently that
these particular examples have
been taken from the famous old
black-bound album in which the
Sloane Durers originally were,
and that their authorship has been
identified, these are equally new
to the public. The exhibition
has been on view for some time,
but some quite recent additions
and substitutions have brought it
up to date.

There are 161 drawings by
foreign masters in the exhibition,

PORTRAIT OF DON NER1 CORSINI BY G. F. WATTS ^ Qf the British school These

are, of course, only a selection
from the total amount acquired

germinate and bear such rruit as the quality or since 1895, but the majority, and all the more

quantity of the inspiration dictates. He has often important ones, are shown. In this article I shall

said to a beginner, " Hardly anything can be taught, treat only of the foreign schools,

but there is everything to be learnt." The aim of the department is to provide for

The motto which has always expressed Mr. Watts' students, in historical sequence, as representative a

artistic aspirations is, " The utmost for the highest," series as possible of the work of the masters of the

and he has always lived up to it. In a day when past down to recent years. Naturally the repre-

the only form of art which is financially successful sentation in the present show is not complete ; yet

is portrait painting, and with a very decided gift all the great schools are represented, and most of

for that special line, he has preferred to devote the supreme names in draughtsmanship—Michael

himself to the dictates of his fancy and only to Angelo, Leonardo, Del Sarto, Correggio, Rubens,

paint the portraits of people who have interested Vandyck, Rembrandt, Watteau, Claude, Millet,

him personally or whose portraits would prove a Delacroix. Durer and Holbein are absent, since

precious heritage to the nation. His object has the fine collections of their work already in the

always been to paint the pictures which came to Museum have not been supplemented since the

him in his own way, and to satisfy his inner vision splendid acquisitions of the Malcolm Collection in

before anything else, leaving the result on the knees 1895 ; and Titian is represented only by a school-

of the gods. , piece, unless a fine drawing of uncertain attribution

Beatrice Erskine. is to be put down to his hand.

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