Getty Museum Drawings Department

Almost all the great artists of the past—painters, sculptors, printmakers, architects—employed drawing as an integral part of their creative process. Using it to explore rough ideas, to study nature and the human figure, and also as an end in itself, artists created works on paper of extraordinary power and immediacy. The Getty Museum’s collection of drawings began with the purchase of a single work by Rembrandt in 1981 and has grown to over 900 drawings and pastels from the 15th to the 19th centuries. From spontaneous sketches to carefully crafted compositions, these compelling sheets demonstrate an array of techniques, materials, and uses, revealing the multifaceted and dynamic nature of the practice and its central role in artistic endeavor.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Organization name

The Drawings Department Study Room

Drawings and pastels are fragile and susceptible to damage by overexposure to light, and therefore works from the collection are displayed on a rotating basis in thematic exhibitions at the Getty Museum and in national and international loan exhibitions. Drawings not currently on display can be viewed online or seen by appointment in the Drawings Department study room.


To apply for an appointment to visit the study room download the application form at the very bottom of the Drawing Department page on the Getty website.


Images: (At top right) Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475 – 1564), Study of a Mourning Woman, c. 1500-05. Pen and brown ink, heightened with white lead opaque watercolor, 26 x 16.5 cm (10 ¼ x 6 ½ in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


(Above) Attributed to Robert-Jacques Lefevre (French, 1755 – 1830), Portrait of an Artist in his Studio, about 1800. Fabricated black chalk, 73 x 54 cm (28 ¾ x 21 ¼ in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Purchased with funds provided by the Disegno Group, 2022.93

Upcoming Events

Past Events

The Decorated Page: The Arts of the Book in the Persian World
February 25, 2024 2:00 pm

Affiliation Groups and Organisations

Wich the generous support of
This partenership with


January 1, 12AM UTC
Pose, Power, Practice: New Perspectives on Life Drawing
Vernon Square, London, WC1X 9EW, United Kingdom

From the sixteenth century to the present, drawing the human body from life has remained a mainstay of Western institutional art practice. Despite significant shifts in the aesthetics, media, and […]

January 1, 12AM UTC
The Drawing Foundation – All Day Drawing Competition
15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY, 10003, United States
Join up to 65 other artists for a full day of drawing from multiple live models
Scroll to Top
Sign up for our newsletter