Drawn to Blue: Artists’ use of blue paper

A self portrait of Jonathan Richardson the elder on a blue background i Jonathan Richardson, the elder (1665 - 1745), Self-portrait, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust), The Courtauld

2 Oct2024 – 26 Jan 2025
The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery

This display will present a selection of drawings on blue paper from The Courtauld51ݶ collection, ranging from works by the Venetian Renaissance artist Jacopo Tintoretto to an Indian landscape by German-born artist Johann Zoffany.

Made from fibres derived from blue rags, blue paper first appeared in Northern Italy in the 14th century. It became a popular drawing support for artists, and its use spread across Western Europe by the late 16th century; it was widely used in England and France in the 18th century. Blue paper provided a nuanced mid-tone which allowed the creation of strong light and dark contrasts, an effect much sought after by draughtsmen.

This exhibition project brought together a team of curators and paper conservators at The Courtauld and the J. Paul Getty Museum to explore the technical aspects and artistic richness of the use of blue paper.

The programme of displays in the Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery is generously supported by the International Music and Art Foundation, with additional support from James Bartos.

Included with Gallery Entry.

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2 October 2024 – 26 January 2025

10:00 – 18:00 (last entry 17:15)

The Courtauld Gallery  The Gilbert and Ildiko Butler Drawings Gallery 
A self portrait of Jonathan Richardson the elder on a blue background
Jonathan Richardson, the elder (1665 - 1745), Self-portrait, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust), The Courtauld

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