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Tuesday-Saturday |10am - 5pm

Drawings from the Bowden Collection

This beautiful new exhibit features drawings and sketches from the Bowden Collection, examples of the tools of the trade, and supplemental pieces from the Bible collection of the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens. The exhibit celebrates the inclination of the artist to grasp a pencil or pen to interpret what they see or how they visualize ideas they explore. Each work of art imaginatively illustrates a story from the Bible. The works in this exhibit date from the mid-1600s to the 21st century and demonstrate the variety of drawing media artists have used in service to the faith. This exhibit includes works by artists, such as Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), represented with Mere et l’enfant No: X11/Mother & Child No 12. Stanley Spencer’s (1891 – 1959) quick sketch, Christ Carrying the Cross, may have been his first concept for his 1920 painting, which is now part of the Tate’s collection in London. Berent Fabritius (1624 to 1674) studied with Rembrandt. Fabritius’ paintings are in museums all over the world. His small gauche, Burial of Christ, depicts a distraught group carrying the dead body of Jesus to the entrance of the tomb. Austrian-born Baron Carl von Blass (1815 to 1894) has two intricate drawings that vividly imagine biblical scenes. Adam and Eve find Able takes the viewer by surprise. It is not often that an artist views the event from the parent’s perspective of the slain son. In von Blass’ Judas Returns the Money, each character turns their head in shame as Judas drops the coins on the table before the high priest. Several old master’s drawings, Annunciation, Madonna and Child, Holy Family, with St John, and a circular sketch of the Holy Family, with Elizabeth, celebrate Italy’s rich graphic tradition. Harvey Fisher’s, Raising the Cross is a study of Peter Paul Ruben’s dramatic, Baroque Erection of the Cross altarpiece. An unknown Austrian drawing entitled Christ Preaching is a direct quote from Rembrandt’s Hundred Gilder print. Christ Praying in the Garden by Cecil Van Haanen (1884 – 1914) is probably a study for a later painting. Drawn from the Bible features the work of many 20th-century artists whose drawings move the media in a new direction. Doug Jacques’ (1946 - 2013) two large drawings Angels Restrained and Prostate Petitioner, draw the viewer into the scene using dramatic swift line work to create circular movement. Precise lines and subtle shading define Bruce Herman’s (1953 - ) Study for Steven. Edward Knippers, (1949 - ) Baptism of Jesus uses a more gestural use of line. What if Kate was Mary? is a most intriguing drawing done with pastels. It features subtle color and has a solid vertical column to dramatize Knippers’ question, “Would I have been as faithful as Joseph is if his wife were chosen to be the mother of the Messiah?” Nancy Snooks’ (1938 - ) dramatic triptych, Compassion, three large pencil drawings, focuses one’s attention on three persons at the Crucifixion - God, embracing his only son, Mary, holding her son’s hand, and Mary Magdalene, caressing Jesus’s feet. From the realistic drawing of Grapes by an unknown Russian artist to Warren Prindle’s (1959 - ) to Shoes at Prayer, to Wes Foley’s stylized cartoon figures to the Asian influence works of Jules Chadel (1870 – 1941) to the “Picassoesque” sketch of Stephen Longstreet, each contemporary artist has found a way to translate their ideas to celebrate the ancient, but ever new power of the pen and pencil.

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Adam and Eve Find Abel

Baron Carl von Blaas 1815 – 1894, Austria

Pencil on paper

C 1860



20th century, United States

Ink wash

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Gideon Wringing Out the Fleece

Casey Johnson

2010, United States



This exhibit also features a selection of hand-crafted reproductions of historical illumination pigments and techniques, courtesy of members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.


Visit the Biedenharn Museum & Garden's Bible Museum to see more!

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