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Sketches

62 artworks, 14 artists
Sketch (gr. σχέδιος — impromptu) is a quickly made drawing, which is most commonly not a finished artwork. The term most often refers to drawings in dry technique which are made with pencil, charcoal, pastel. However, sketches can be executed in any technique, including oil, tempera, watercolour, or ink. Artists use quick sketches in their work on a future painting, working out the general idea, composition, number of subjects, and their location. In some cases, when presenting a large project to a group of evaluators, the artist creates a completely finished work with minimal detail — it is also a sketch.

Many painters use sketches as kind of their artistic “notebook”, capturing ideas, successful poses of the sitters, compositional solutions. Today these albums are commonly called sketchbooks. Some artists lace in such scattered sheets together or work in ready albums. The most famous collections of sketches are albums by Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and David Hockney. Seeing these drawings, one can comprehend the sequence of the artist’s preparation for the painting, the elaboration of individual details, poses, facial expressions, etc.

The definitions of “sketch” and “study” are often confused. From the point of view of painting, a study or an etude is a work that is painted from life; as a rule, it is complete and self-sufficient: a landscape, still life, portrait, or an interior. At the same time, a study can be both an independent work and a preparatory work of the artist for creating a large-format painting. A sketch is an auxiliary work, the main purpose of which is working out the composition and general idea of the future picture, while the artist is not always supposed to complete it. At that, sketch commonly requires great thought and development. This is how it differs from a draft, a quickly executed sketch without detailing, although even drafts can be outstanding works of interest to artists and collectors.

Famous sketchbooks of prominent artists:
Codex Arundel by Leonardo da Vinci
Seven notebooks with sketches and drafts by Van Gogh
The diary of Frida Kahlo
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