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British Museum’s Lines of Thought International Debut at New Mexico Museum of Art

Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Interior of a circular building, 1752–1760, pen and brown ink. Image ©The Trustees of the British Museum

During its centennial year, as part of Santa Fe’s Art of the Draw collaboration, the New Mexico Museum of Art is hosting the international debut of Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now: from the British Museum. Santa Fe is one of only two venues to display the exhibition in the United States, and the first to host the show outside the U.K.

With works from a list that reads like a “who’s who” of international artists through the centuries, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to better understand the thinking behind an artist’s drawing, comparing side-by-side drawings from master draftsmen across five centuries. The featured artists include Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Bridget Riley, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Franz Kline, and more.

“A drawing can capture and preserve a record of an artist’s thoughts, rendering visible ideas, developing and refining them, serving as a key conceptual tool throughout each stage of the artistic process,” explained Mary Kershaw, director of the Museum of Art. “Lines of Thought explores the numerous and invaluable lessons one can learn from examining the drawings of past masters in the context of artists working today, from Michelangelo to Mondrian, Rembrandt to Rachel Whiteread, Piranesi to Picasso.”

Examining the enormous variety of methods used as a means of recording and provoking thought from the fifteenth century to today, Lines of Thought explores the history of drawing as a thinking medium, providing insight into the minds of some of the world’s greatest artists. A treasure of small wonders, this exhibit features powerful designs and preliminary sketches by Renaissance masters and artists through the ages.

Lines of Thought is one of the British Museum Prints and Drawings department’s largest ever touring exhibitions, bringing together 70 drawings selected from the museum’s unparalleled graphic collection of more than 50,000 drawings and two million prints dating from the fifteenth century to today. On exhibition through September 17, 2017, Lines of Thought will help visitors understand drawing and, we hope, inspire them to draw too.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is open Saturday–Thursday 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Admission $7 for NM Residents; $12 for non-residents, free for children 6 and under. The first Sunday of each moth is free for New Mexico residents with ID. Wednesdays are free for New Mexico resident seniors (60+) with ID.

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