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The Multiple Lives of Drawings

European Graphic Art 1500–1800 from the MacKenzie Art Gallery

European Graphic Art 1500–1800 from the MacKenzie Art Gallery

This online exhibition brings to life through innovative interactives the form and function of European drawings from 1500 to 1800, featuring selections from the small but exquisite holdings of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection. Highlighting a number of important new discoveries by the curators, the exhibition reveals the multiple lives of drawings as studies and sketchbook entries, preparatory drawings, copies, and finished artworks. The exhibition shows how drawing was a shared medium and practice both north and south of the Alps throughout the Renaissance and Baroque. Focusing less on questions of style and authorship, this exhibition sheds new light on the social life of both the artists and their graphic production.

Curated By

  • Dr. Francesco Freddolini
    Associate Professor of Art History, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Timothy Long
    Head Curator, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina


The collection of early modern drawings at the MacKenzie Art Gallery is the product of the vision of the gallery’s namesake, Norman MacKenzie, K.C. (1869–1936). In the early decades of the twentieth century, the Regina lawyer began to build a collection of art that he hoped would one day serve as the nucleus for a public art museum of national stature. Early on, his efforts were devoted to acquiring paintings by Italian Renaissance masters, a difficult task given a lack of sound advice and adequate financial resources. When MacKenzie was appointed to the Board of the National Gallery of Canada in 1925 as its first Western representative, he was disappointed to learn that his efforts had been largely misguided. Undaunted, he took the advice of gallery staff to focus instead on acquiring early modern works on paper from reputable London dealers. By his death in 1936, MacKenzie had assembled a collection of nearly two dozen sheets of high quality.

These works, along with a number of paintings, sculptures, and antiquities, were bequeathed to the University of Saskatchewan—then responsible for colleges in Saskatoon and Regina—along with instructions that a gallery be built in Regina to house them. In 1953 the first phase of the gallery was built as part of Regina College (now the University of Regina). Subsequent gallery directors and curators have worked to catalogue and research the collection; an additional half dozen drawings were purchased before prices rose beyond reach in the 1970s. In 1990 the MacKenzie Art Gallery formally separated from the university, but it has continued to steward the University of Regina Collection, to which the drawings belong, as part of its broad educational mandate and ongoing relationship with the university.

Artists Referenced

Carracci, Agostino (Italian, 1557–1602)

Carracci, Annibale (Italian, 1560–1609)

Duck, Jacob (Dutch, c. 1600–1667)

Duyster, Willem Cornelisz. (Dutch, 1599–1635)

Figino, Girolamo (Italian, c. 1520–c. 1569)

Foschi, Pier Francesco (Italian, 1502–1567)

Fruytiers, Philip (Flemish, 1610–1666)

Luini, Bernardino (Italian, c. 1480/85–1532)

Melzi, Francesco (Italian, c. 1491/93–1570)

Perugino (Pietro Vannucci) (Italian, c. 1450–1523)

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669)

Sodoma, il (Giovanni Antonio Bazzi) (Italian, 1477–1549)