January 30, 2017

The J. Paul Getty Museum Presents The Sculptural Line




Val Tate

Getty Communications
(310) 440-6861


The J. Paul Getty Museum Presents The Sculptural Line

On View January 17 - April 16, 2017
at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center


Left: Study of Two Men (recto); Study of the Head of a Bearded Man (verso), about 1525. Braccio Bandinelli (Italian, 1493 – 1560). Pen and brown ink. 34 x 22.4 cm (13 3/8 x 8 13/16 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Right: Sphinx, about 1898 – 1900. Auguste Rodin (French, 1840 – 1917). Graphite and brown wash. 48.7 x 32.4 (19 3/16 x 12 3/4 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Drawing and sculpting may appear to be profoundly different practices, but for many artists these two disciplines have been intimately intertwined. Sculpture can serve as subject matter for drawings, while drawing often plays a vital part of the sculpting process. Through a selection of drawings and sculptures from the late fifteenth through twentieth centuries, a new exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum—The Sculptural Line, on view January 17 through April 16, 2017—examines the dynamic interaction between these two mediums.

“Since the Renaissance, the practice of drawing after ancient sculpture has played a central role in the training of artists. Offering a repertoire of forms from which to derive inspiration, the appeal of classical statuary derived both from its embodiment of perfect proportions and from its unrivalled aesthetic and expressive appeal.” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The exhibition will also include neoclassical works in which draftsmen integrated antique statues into their compositions, and work by contemporary artists who use sculpture to experiment with the movement and position of the body before representing it on paper or canvas.”

In all periods, drawings were often made as preparatory designs for sculpture. These resulted in finished modelli (models) where sculptors worked out their ideas before committing to the expenditures of labor and materials. Alberto Giacometti’s Standing Woman I (1960) was initially conceived by the artist as part of a group of monumental bronzes to be placed on the plaza outside Chase Bank in Manhattan. Giacometti first sketched some ideas on paper before the group of rough, eroded, heavily worked figures were modeled in plaster and cast in bronze. Unsatisfied by the relationship between the sculpture and the site—which he had never visited—Giacometti ultimately abandoned the project, and the figures were sold individually.

In other cases, drawings served as a record of a sculptor’s finished work before it left the workshop for public or private view. These sketches functioned as ricordi, or records of completed sculptures. Auguste Rodin wrote in a letter to a friend, “My drawings are the result of my sculpture.” The sheet of Rodin’s Sphinx (about 1898–1900) belongs to a group of late graphic works that stem from Rodin’s focus on the rendering of a three-dimensional subject. By keeping his eyes on the model without looking at the sheet of paper as he drew, the artist captured the figure—both frontally and in profile—almost as if it were moving.

“Particularly important was the tradition of drawing after ancient statuary and their plaster casts,” says Ketty Gottardo, curator of the exhibition. “Beginning in the Renaissance and continuing through the early nineteenth century, artists focused on the study of volumes, poses, and expressions which derived from such examples.”

Although known primarily for his sculpture, Baccio Bandinelli was also a virtuoso draftsman who produced a large graphic oeuvre. In Study of Two Men (about 1525), he used the pen almost like a chisel, seeming to carve the figures’ limbs and muscles on the paper with rapid, precise hatching. The left figure reveals Bandinelli’s debt to the most famous of all Renaissance statues, Michelangelo’s David, a colossal sculpture that Bandinelli greatly admired and envied.

The Sculptural Line will be on view January 17–April 16, 2017, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Ketty Gottardo, Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings at the Courtauld Gallery in London and former associate curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The display coincides with the Getty’s exhibition on Edme Bouchardon, accomplished sculptor and prolific draftsman. Related programming includes a talk, a studio workshop, and guided drawing hours. Additional information can be found at

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.

Visiting the Getty Center
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Mondays, and January 1, Thanksgiving Day and December 25. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 3 p.m. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

Same-day parking at both Museum locations (Getty Center and Getty Villa) is available for one fee through the Getty’s Pay Once, Park Twice program. Visit the Museum Information Desk at the Center or the Villa to obtain a coupon good for same-day complimentary parking at the other site.

Additional information is available at
Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit for a complete calendar of public programs.

You must be logged in to view this item.

This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.