Attributed to Gilles-Marie Oppenord (French, 1672–1742). Sheet with Architectural Motifs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Edward Pearce Casey Fund, 1981 (1981.1047)

Sketching forms an important part of many artists' work process. Whether the artist quickly scribbles down the outline of a new design or records another artist's inventions for inspiration or as a learning tool, sketches help to shape ideas and stimulate the creative process. Sketches and studies therefore form an integral aspect of an artist's initial training, but many continue to sketch throughout their mature careers. On this sheet of sketches (1981.1047), the French architect Gilles-Marie Oppenord (1672–1742) has collected various architectural elements with a supporting function, which could serve him in his own designs for the interior. The somewhat chaotic arrangement of motifs is characteristic for a sketch sheet, and many similar sheets by Oppenord are known. His studies were later published by the French publisher Gabriel Huquier (1695–1772), making them available to a wider audience as models for design.

Gregorio de' Ferrari (Italian, 1647–1726). Design for an Overdoor Decoration (recto); Rinceaux (verso), ca. 1670–1690. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1967 (67.95.9)

Gregorio de' Ferrari (1647–1726) explores a more concise theme, focusing his attention on the decoration of a frame most likely meant as an overdoor decoration (67.95.9). The design on top shows a highly finished composition of a satyr's mask crowned with a laurel wreath by two cherubs. The lower design represents an earlier stage of the design process where the artist has merely outlined the figures of the two young satyrs on either side of the central vase. By roughly applying some gray wash in certain areas, he is nevertheless able to bring his design to life and visualize what the executed designs would come to look like.