Drawings by the Old Masters give us the sense of being close by the artists while they are creating, of looking over their shoulder while they work on drawings, of experiencing their inspiration and sharing their creative moments. These old master drawings are precious because they allow us to raise the curtain and see behind the scenes.
The final product is polished and honed, these old master drawings allow us to relive the struggle of artistic accomplishment, to follow its growth from idea to masterpiece. Some of these old master drawings were preparatory works along the path to a painting, training grounds where ideas could be tested, other were made to show to prospective clients; some were made to stand alone.
The different roles these old master drawings played made for different conservation methods: those intended as final works were carefully preserved, those used to present commissions often were kept in artist's portfolios, while those intended as preparatory works could have even been picked up off a studio floor by an assistant or model. Whatever their intended use, today old master drawings are fascinating and accessible and certainly worth collecting.