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A Closer Look at Metalpoint Drawing

Kimberly Schenck, Head of Paper Conservation, National Gallery of Art. This first comprehensive exhibition to examine the history of metalpoint—the art of drawing with a metal stylus on a specially prepared ground—premiered at the National Gallery of Art from May 3 through July 26, 2015. With some 90 drawings from the Middle Ages to the present, Drawing in Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns featured works from the collections of the British Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and other major museums in the United States and Europe. In this lecture recorded on May 18, 2015, as a part of the Works in Progress series, exhibition conservator Kimberly Schenck explores the varied materials and techniques of metalpoint and offers a glimpse into why these drawings look the way they do. Although discussions of metalpoint often focus on the metal used in the drawing process, the characteristics of other components, such as the paper support and the ground or coating, also play important roles.