We just saw the drawing show, Fragonard Drawing Triumphant, at the Met.
From the text on the wall as you enter the show,
“Drawing was a natural medium for Jean Honore’ Fragonard (1732-1808). It allowed his ideas to spring freely from his mind to the sheet, guided in equal parts by observation and intuition. In the first catalogue of the French artist’s work, published in 1889, Roger Portalls described drawing as “the triumph of Fragonard.” This notion embodies more than the celebration of manual dexterity and skill, it recognizes the eighteenth century as a moment of conceptual shift in European art, when collectors embraced drawing as an independent form of artistic expression. Formerly regarded primarily as a useful tool in the preparation of other works, the medium came into its own during the Rococo era.”
We have spoken quite a lot in these pages about the exact purpose of drawing. We have applied the word tool to Transparent Drawing. We have said that we are problem solvers, not artists.
So I staggered a bit as I read the above passage on the wall in the Met. I was stunned to learn that in previous artistic epochs, the place of drawing, the meaning of drawing, is different than our culture understands it.
I wonder what is was like to draw before this 18th Century cultural shift? What was it like to draw when drawing was only a tool, and you had no concept that your drawing could be anything else? What was it like to draw in a pure state of problem solving, of solely working things out? What was it like to draw when your drawing could not be art?
On a most fundamental level, all we are talking about in these pages is exactly this mindset. And I am now thrilled to learn that this mindset existed in another cultural context.
So now I have a new perspective and trajectory. I wonder what other information I might find that describes this “pre representation” mindset? I’ll certainly keep you up to date as anything in this regard comes to light.
My drawing above indeed is in the service of problem solving, as it is a study for connector assemblies.