Head of a Woman: Study for The Happy Mother (L’Heureuse mère) (detail), 1810, Pierre-Paul Prud’hon; black and white chalk, stumped, on blue paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum Head of a Woman: Study for The Happy Mother (L’Heureuse mère) (detail), 1810, Pierre-Paul Prud’hon; black and white chalk, stumped, on blue paper. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Line by line and layer by layer, artists conjure three-dimensional worlds from two-dimensional sheets of paper. Selecting from an array of media and techniques—hatched ink lines, varying densities of wash, white chalk highlights—they generate form, likeness, and depth to create an arresting sense of presence. This exhibition features works from the 1500s to the 1800s, all from the Getty Museum’s collection.

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