Lovers of European drawing will take delight in this beautifully illustrated volume of 120 drawings that cover some 500 years of art history and represent a diversity of artistic schools in Italy, Northern Europe, France, and Great Britain. They were selected from the notable collection of Jean Bonna of Geneva, Switzerland, and they highlight the rich quality and diversity of the Bonna Collection.
The drawings are as varied in their range of subject matter as they are in medium and artistic style, and they encompass fine examples by both major masters and less well-known artists. Narrative scenes, religious subjects, studies of the human figure, formal and informal portraits, animal and nature studies, landscapes, cityscapes, and seascapes predominate in the collection. The catalogue begins with such Italian artists as Andrea del Sarto, Raphael, Palma Il Giovane, Ludovico and Annibale Carracci, Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, and Giandomenico Tiepolo. The Northern European artists include the Master of the Farm Landscapes, Jacob Jordaens, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Lambert Doomer. Eighteenth-century accomplishments in French art are exemplified in exceptional works by Claude Lorrain, Pierre Puget, Charles Le Brun, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Pierre-Adrien Pâris, Jean-Siméon Chardin, and François Boucher. From the nineteenth century, there are emblematic works by such varied artists as Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, Théodore Gericault, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Odilon Redon, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Georges Seurat. Although many of the drawings in Jean Bonna's collection have previously been published and exhibited, the quality and scope of his holdings have not been explored so fully until this publication and the exhibition it accompanies.
The works from the Bonna Collection are illustrated in color, and whenever possible, at their actual sizes. They are arranged chronologically by the artist's date of birth and are grouped according to the main artistic schools. This volume is introduced by an interview with Jean Bonna by George Goldner, Drue Heinz Chairman of the Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each drawing is then described in an entry, many of which have comparative illustrations that shed further light on individual works. The entries were written by the curators of the Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the curator of the Bonna Collection; and well-known specialists in their respective fields.