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November 28, 2005

LOS ANGELES—A new Getty exhibition will present drawings in the form of an itinerary across northern Italy, offering insight into the different styles and uses of draftsmanship throughout the region.  Drawings from Leonardo to Titian: A North Italian Itinerary, at the Getty Center, December 6, 2005–February 26, 2006, will focus on the artistic centers of Lombardy (Milan, Cremona, Mantua), Emilia-Romagna (Parma, Bologna), and Venice and the Veneto (Verona, Venice) to see how artists in each region approached drawing and influenced one another.

The exhibition will feature over 30 works from the Getty Museum’s collection, including drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). On view is one of Leonardo’s influential "brainstorm" sheets, filled with many ideas and subjects jumbled together on the page, as if reflecting the complex motions of the mind.  These reveal his wide range of interests and his experimental nature. While Leonardo was prolific, creating thousands of casual sketches as well as detailed observations, Titian (about 1487 –1576) drew very little, producing only a limited number of sheets that explore his concerns with atmosphere and the effects of light and shade. Also featured is Correggio’s (Antonio Allegri, about 1489/94–1534) soft and elegant mode of drawing, as well as works by other artists that trace the cross-fertilization of styles over time and geography.  In addition, the exhibition examines the variety of materials used, including black and red chalk, and the blue paper favored by Venetian artists.

Artistically, Leonardo dominated Lombardy, while the region of Emilia-Romagna in the center of northern Italy embraced the art of Correggio and Parmigianino, and Titian’s draftsmanship defined the art of Venice and the Veneto.

Although Leonardo spent much time in Florence, his style and influence dominated works produced in the Lombardy region, including Milan, where he worked at the Sforza court.  His technique of scattering varied studies across the page was influential throughout Italy.  He was also responsible for popularizing the use of red chalk, which is harder than black chalk and could be finely sharpened to produce small, tight drawings, or smudged for softer effects. Its closeness to flesh tones made red chalk particularly suitable for head and figure studies. Lombard drawings are often characterized by a rich and complex use of media, frequently mixed or thickly applied to produce a richness of color. Outside Milan, other artistic centers included Cremona, where the Campi family had the major workshop, and Mantua, where the Raphael associate Giulio Romano held sway.

In Emilia-Romagna, artistic activity was centered in the cities of Parma, Ferrara, and Bologna. Correggio, who worked mainly in Parma, was the pioneer of a style of painting and drawing that emphasized graceful forms, softness, and Leonardesque effects of sfumato, or smoky, transitional tones.  In contrast, Parmigianino used an unusually wide variety of techniques and media. His distinctive, elegant style is characterized by voluminous figures with elongated limbs and small heads. 

Venice and the Veneto
Drawing did not occupy such a central place in the creative process in Venice and the Veneto.  Characterized particularly by the work of Titian and Tintoretto, Venetian drawing emphasized fragmented forms and atmosphere rather than precise detail.  To achieve these ends, Venetian draftsmen used and popularized blue-colored paper, which provided a sympathetic background for such effects. They also favored black chalk, which was softer than red chalk, thus allowing broader forms and greater contrast against the blue paper.

All events are free, unless otherwise noted. For reservations and information, please call (310) 440-7300 or visit Tickets are available on-site or by phone.

Dining with History
Thursday, December 8 and 15, 2005, 3:00–5:00 p.m., Museum Lecture Hall
Luigi Ballerini, professor of Italian, UCLA, looks at some of the most significant cookbooks in Italian history, as well as their social and political implications during the Renaissance. It concludes with a tasting of sparkling wines from northern Italy.
Course fee: $20; tasting fee: $20. Limited to 60 participants.

Tuesday, January 10 and February 7, 2006, 1:30 p.m., Museum galleries
Julian Brooks, assistant curator of drawings, the J. Paul Getty Museum, leads a gallery talk on Drawings from Leonardo to Titian: A North Italian Itinerary. Meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.

Leonardo in Northern Italy
Sunday, January 15, 2006, 4:00–5:00 p.m., Harold M. Williams Auditorium
This lecture by Carmen Bambach, curator of drawings and prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will look at the impact of Leonardo's work on the traditions of northern Italian painting and drawing.

Friday, February 3, 2006, 4:30 and 6:00 p.m., Museum galleries
Peter Zokosky, a professional artist with expertise in historic materials and techniques, leads a gallery talk on the exhibition. Sign up at the Museum Information Desk beginning at 3:00 p.m.

Publications are available in the Getty Museum Store, by calling (800) 223-3431 or (310) 440-7059, or online at

Looking at Prints, Drawings, and Watercolours
A Guide to Technical Terms

By Paul Goldman
An accessible, illustrated glossary of terms related to prints, drawings, and watercolors.
(Getty Publications, paper: $14.95)

Titian and the Commander: A Renaissance Artist and His Patron
October 4, 2005–February 5, 2006
The Getty Museum’s Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos, painted in 1533, is one of Titian's most influential works. The exhibition presents a close look at this exceptional painting and includes a historical portrait of the same sitter, The Allocution of Alfonso d'Avalos (on loan for the first time in the United States from the Museo del Prado in Madrid), as well as his Penitent Magdalene, also from the Getty Museum’s collection. The exhibition includes several contemporary illustrated books drawn from the Getty Research Institute's vast collections.

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Miranda Carroll
Getty Communications Department

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