Study (art)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In art, a study is a drawing, sketch or painting done in preparation for a finished piece, or as visual notes. A study can have more impact than a more-elaborately planned work, due to the fresh insights the artist is gaining while exploring his/her subject. The excitement of discovery can give a study vitality. Even when layers of the work show changes the artist made as more was understood, the viewer shares more of the artist's sense of discovery. Written notes alongside visual images add to the import of the piece as they allow the viewer to share the artist's process of getting to know the subject. Unfortunately notepaper lacks the quality needed to ensure the study's longevity.

Studies inspired some of the first 20th century conceptual art, where the creative process itself becomes the subject of the piece. Since the process is what is all-important in studies and conceptual art, the viewer may be left with no material object of art.

Studies can be traced back even as long ago as the Italian Renaissance, from which art historians have maintained some of Michelangelo's studies. One in particular, his study for the Libyan Sibyl which can now be viewed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, is quite ironic. Though he used a male model on which to base his study, the finished painting was of a woman. Details such as that one only help to delve deeper into the thought processes and techniques of many artists.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Study (art)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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