Before pencils and paper, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and many other artists drew with lead, silver, gold, and other metal points to create timeless studies on small specially-prepared surfaces. Silver points were the most often chosen for drawing. Placed in a stylus, they were used to make studies of delicately fine, light, permanent lines that darkened into a luminous warm hue as the silver tarnished with age.
Opening May 3 at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington DC, is Drawing with Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns, a comprehensive metal point exhibition of ninety drawings from the Middle Ages to the present. With its focus on older work, the exhibition contains only ten images created since 1900. Co-curators Sherry Camhy and Jillian Russo conceived a complementary show, The Silverpoint Exhibition, as a celebration of some outstanding work in silverpoint created at the Art Students League since 1948.
The artists in the exhibition have been attracted to this archaic medium’s purity while pushing beyond of its former limitations, working as large as they choose and on surfaces that allow for erasing and the use of mixed media. The Silverpoint Exhibition, an exhibition of contemporary silverpoint drawings, includes work by Steven Assael, Cara Boyle, Sherry Camhy, Mary Grace Concannon, George Corbin, Harvey Dinnerstein, Lois Dinnerstein, Fioretti, Mark Gonzales, Richard Husson, James Melone, Maria Mottola, Lauren Amalia Redding, Ephraim Rubenstein, Sheldon Schultz, Wendy Shalen, Burton Silverman, Joel Spector, Aidan Terry, Dan Thompson Ever Blanco Valverde, Costa Vavagiakis, Lea Colie Wight, Jason Yarmosky, and Blake Zoephel. The show continues in the Art Students League’s main office gallery through May 31, 2015. An opening reception is scheduled for May 7, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Ephraim Rubenstein, Narcissus, 2006. Silverpoint on prepared paper, 30 x 22½ in.
Joseph Feury, Sunflowers,