barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Drawn to Perfection

Masterworks from the Royal Collection

Absolutely integral to the processes of art, drawings have always served many crucial and varied functions.

This first exhibition in an exciting new partnership with Royal Collection Trust explores their use – as prototypes for paintings and frescoes, tapestries, sculpture or architecture, and as detailed working sketches that allow an artist to explore the subject or trial compositional ideas. It includes a wealth of exquisite works on paper by brilliant Renaissance and Baroque Masters, including Bernini, Carracci, Claude, and Poussin, and is curated by students from the University’s MA Art History and Curating course. 

Grid image: Federico Barocci, ‘The head of an old man’, c.1575, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Header image: Filippo Lauri, ‘A ceiling design for Palazzo Borghese’, 1671, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018


What our visitors have said…

‘Incredible display of skill!’ B.D, 15/07/18

‘Awe – inspiring!’ D.P, 14/07/18

‘Beautifully presented with a wealth of information – well done!’ SD, Lichfield, 11/07/18

‘Very interesting collection of sketches with informative and helpful labels!’ CT, Warwickshire, 11/07/18

‘Very interesting! Thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you!’ J and E, Denmark, 08/07/18

‘Beautiful! Lovely to see drawings in contrast to the paintings next door, highlights the process!’, Z, Oxford, 04/07/18

‘Beautiful works! Thank you!’ B, Melbourne Australia, 03/07/18

‘Very interesting! Well done to the MA students! I found the details given about the process of creation very interesting.’ CS, Birmingham, 01/07/18

‘Wonderful – to be able to see centuries old drawings up close is terrific.’ KEK, Stratford Upon Avon, 26/06/18

‘Amazing drawings – good inspiration for people who want to draw.’ MH, 24/06/18

‘Very well done – what a lovely group of drawings.’, BK, Herefordshire, 23/06/18

‘Really enjoyed the display, got lots of inspiration.’ TR, Worcester, 22/06/18

‘Excellent work by the student curators! Amazing subject and drawing selections.’ TA and YY, Greece and China, 20/06/18

‘Great selection of high quality drawings. Loved the Carracci sketch!’ N and F, Kings Heath, 17/06/18

Jan van Goyen (1596-1656)

A Village Scene


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

Zaphyrus and Flora


Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693)

Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath


ascribed to Pietro Antonio Novelli (1729-1804)

A Music Party