Artists often make rough sketches before they devote themselves to the final painting. This work done in preparation of the final work is called a study. A study permits the artists to explore his subject, capture numerous moods, postures and poses, and compositions before finally setting out on his main project. A study could also include notes.
Artists have always made studies as an aid to their art. A study gives them the scope to experiment and test their ideas. As early as the Renaissance, we know of the studies of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and other famous artists. A study is often as well known as the final painting. For it gives us a keen insight into the manner of working of a painter. It brings us closer to his or her master pieces, and to the painter itself.
Leonardo da Vinci produced a number of studies, on a variety of subjects like nature, flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture. In his study of them, he drew designs for weapons, combat devices, and submarines. He also made his anatomical studies during this period.
Moreover, he made studies of cats, horses, dragons, the nature of water, and the Virgin Mary. Da Vinci recorded his studies in notebooks. He grouped them under four main themes: anatomy, mechanics, painting and architecture.
Claude Monet, one of the greatest Impressionist painters, made studies of gardens, rivers and the sea. He also made studies of the effect of light on a scene.