What is a drawing? Instinctively, we all know. It is the graphic representation of a real or imagined object, of a person, a place, a geometric figure and of lots more. It is the transposing into an image what surrounds us, or an idea, a dream or a creation of the human imagination, according to the artist’s interpretation. Drawing is the basis for infinite ways of expressing images that have given voice to various human and cultural contexts. Indeed, up until the seventeenth century, drawing was considered the foundation of art. This is why, from the Middle Ages and still throughout the Renaissance, a true artist had to be, first and foremost, very skilled at drawing.

From the awls used in ancient times to engrave stone surfaces, to today’s graphic software for computers, many tools, in the hands of men across the centuries, have made it possible to represent images. In Renaissance times, for example, graphic signs could be made using various tools (metal points, fine brushes dipped in ink, soft pastels, charcoal) on various grounds (board, wall, canvas, copper, glass, parchment, paper).

An infinite number of images could be obtained, using variations of light and dark shading. And the final result could be quite different, from a simple sketch to a preparatory study for a painting or even a finished drawing in its own right.