Today, March 30, is — we are told — “National Pencil Day“, marking the advent of a patent on the pencil with an attached eraser.
I’ll put aside the fact that this hardly represents the most significant event in the history of the pencil, and the inaccuracy of the linked WN article about Lipman creating the wooden pencil (he did not — see my post on the history of Pencils); and I’ll even overlook the likelihood that this is merely a marketing ploy on the part of pencil manufacturers, and instead use it as an excuse to celebrate pencil drawing, with a few nice examples from history.
To do that, I had to go no further than the mind-bogglingly deep catalogue of drawings in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, from which I’ve selected a few done in graphite.
Should you choose to do the same, here is a link to a search of the online collections for works marked with the tag “graphite”.
This will turn up many watercolors, ink and wash and other drawings in which graphite was incorporated or used as a start, but there are enough actual graphite drawings to keep an interested pencil drawing aficionado occupied for hours. Most of them are available in high-resolution versions.
This tiny selection of pencil drawings is merely (if you’ll excuse the expression) scratching the surface — so I’ll tack on a Time Sink Warning.
Images above, with details: Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Samuel Prout, Samuel Amsler, Carlo Ferrario, Charles R. Knight, William Trost Richards, Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol, John Singer Sargent.