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Jim Dine: The Glyptotek Drawings Online Exhibition | Thaw Conservation Center

Jim Dine: Drawing with Light

Read more: Intro | Translucent vs. Opaque | Building up the Layers | Putting Light into the Drawings | Drawings to Printing Plates | Glossary | Sources

Image of Glyptotek Drawing 12
Jim Dine (b. 1935)
Glyptotek Drawings

Charcoal on Mylar.
17 x 13 inches (43.2 x 33 cm)
Promised gift of the artist to The Morgan Library & Museum.
Photograph courtesy of The Pace Gallery.
© 2009 Jim Dine / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jim Dine was inspired by a 1984 trip to The Glyptothek in Munich, to create a series of figurative drawings based on Greek and Roman antiquities; they would ultimately function as positive transparencies in the production of the heliogravure prints (helio — "light"; gravure — "engraving") for his limited edition book Glyptotek, 1988. Due to the ultimate function of these drawings, Dine used materials that would either block or transmit light and, thus, was restricted to the use of opaque black media on translucent supports. Over the course of two winters from 1987-1988 in a studio in Venice, Italy, Dine created forty drawings in this manner, working from photographic reproductions of antique sculptures. These drawings make up his body of work known as the Glyptotek Drawings.

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Heliogravure: An intaglio printmaking process also known as photogravure. Traditionally, this process uses light in combination with a continuous tone photographic film positive transparency to create an acid-resistant gelatin ground on a copper printing plate. To create this ground, the transparency is placed over a photosensitive layer of gelatin and exposed to an ultraviolet-containing light source. Areas of the gelatin that are exposed to light are hardened in proportion to the amount of light that penetrates the transparency, making these areas of gelatin less soluble and more acid resistant. This gelatin layer is then bonded to a plate prepared with an aquatint grain. The plate is then placed in a series of ferric chloride solutions used to etch the surface of the copper to transfer the image from the transparency to the printing plate. In the case of the heliogravure prints in Dine's Glyptotek, the Glyptotek Drawings were used as the positive transparencies. The elimination of the photographic film positive transparency is often referred to as direct gravure.
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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.