24 April to 7 August 2021

Venue: Sir John Madejski Art Gallery Reading Museum

Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing explores how we learn to draw, and the lessons that drawing teaches. It is linked to Reading Museum and the University of Reading’s joint history as home to an important regional art school, and explores the rich, wider history of drawing in modern British art schools.

Alongside key loans and works from Reading Museum, it highlights the 65 master drawings held at the University of Reading Art Collection by artists including James McNeill Whistler, Giovanni Baglione, Peter Paul Rubens, Walter Richard Sickert, Gwen John, Rita Donagh, and many more. These were collected by James Anthony Betts, the first Professor of Fine Art at the University of Reading. He is the figure that appears in the exhibition's logo. 

The exhibition, originally planned for 2020, opens online on 24th April 2021, and can be explored and enjoyed on the University of Reading Art Collection's website. The exhibition in the Sir John Madejski Gallery at Reading Museum will open as soon as Government guidance allows, but not before 17th May 2021. It will run until 7th August.

A programme of online and in person events and activities, including with artist-in-residence, Saranjit Birdi, will encourage visitors to explore different approaches to drawing and representing the human figure. Be sure to check our What's On page for more details as new events become announced.

A drawing by Rubens.
This study by Peter Paul Rubens is of the head of Marie de'Medici for a cycle of paintings about her life that are on display in the Louvre. It was made circa 1622. UAC/10539.
A drawing by Sickert.
This drawing by Walter Sickert, Marie Seated on a Bed, was made circa 1911-1912. Marie was Marie Hayes, Sickert's charlady and often appeared in his paintings of Camden Town interiors. UAC/10536

This exhibition was made possible with a grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and funding from Arts Council England awarded to Museums Partnership Reading via their National Portfolio Organisation programme.