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From cave paintings to 3D drawings

The earliest strokes were made in prehistoric times: cave paintings such as those in the caves of Altamira or Nerja. The main purpose of those drawings was to express and transmit images of human everyday’s life. This fact was always present to a greater or lesser extent during the following centuries. There are endless examples of artistic drawings in the subsequent centuries, from those by Chinese dynasties to Egyptian papyri and the magnificent Islamic manuscripts.

Renaissance was a turning point, in which drawing emerged and reached its maximum splendour. Accuracy with regard to the representation of reality was linked to concepts such as proportion canons, directly inherited from Greek and Roman tradition. Those, combined with a new precision and attention to detail, gave rise to drawing’s masterpieces, some of which can be found in Balclis’ drawing and painting online auctions. Many of them were created by great Italian masters, such as Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo. For the first time, measures and perspective games dominated over purely aesthetic aspects, in the shape of endless studies, elevations and architectural plans.

Drawing and painting

There is no doubt that drawing always remained closely linked to painting in a symbiotic attitude. In the 17th Century, this relationship developed into a fierce conflict where for the first time colour and drawing were openly confronted. On the one hand, there were those who advocated for drawing as an intellectual symbol, led by Poussin and Charles Lebrun, who was the director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. On the other hand, those who defended an absolute triumph of colour and the agile brushstroke that appealed directly to emotions, led by Rubens.

Over the following centuries, drawing was always present in the artists’ production, in terms of notes or sketches and, to a certain extent, increasingly disconnected from painting, which evolved towards looser and freer lines, in movements such as Impressionism. In the 20th Century, new challenges for drawing arose: fashion figurines, caricatures or comics began to enjoy great success. But maybe one of the highlights was the creation of cartoons by Walt Disney, which was the basis of today’s digital world and gives us a vision of how drawing becomes contemporary art.

Supports and materials

Traditionally associated with paper and cardboard as a support, throughout its long history, drawing has used numerous materials, ranging from the early examples of cave murals to methacrylate and, of course, canvas. Similarly, the most common drawing materials are ink or charcoal, due to their plasticity and ease of use, although pastels, pure pigments or watercolour drawings are equally popular. Today, in a fully digitalised world, computer drawing and 3D creations are the last links in a long chain which brings together from cave paintings to Renaissance perspectives.