Art: Grace Notes

The great painters of the Renaissance looked upon drawings with particular affection; they exchanged them with fellow artists as a mark of respect. Their students pored over them for clues to their secrets, for almost nothing else told so much about how they built up their compositions or what sort of scene or gesture would catch their eye and cry out for immediate recording. But they were not only blueprints; they were often masterpieces in themselves. Leonardo's Leda (see opposite page) almost bursts out of her paper world; a landscape by Rembrandt sweeps up the eye, leads it to fill in...

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