2019 Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Toronto
IAS-Sponsored Session

Patterns of Knowledge Production in Early Modern Graphic Collections II

Sheraton Centre Toronto, Sheraton Hall C
Sunday March 17, 2020, 11am-12:30pm

Organizer and Chair: Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Oy-Marra, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Organizer and Chair: Dr. Irina Schmiedel, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Respondent: Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Oy-Marra, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

The two linked panels will explore the practices of collecting and assembling drawings and prints in albums, portfolios as well as other forms of display. We will focus on early modern Italy (Vasari, Baldinucci, Resta, Bonola, et al.), taking into account the different interests and habits to handle the artworks themselves, developed by connoisseurs and collectors, theoreticians (writers) and practitioners (artists). Varying preconditions and aims led towards diverse ways of organizing the material, unveiling different types of image-text-relations both within the collections and beyond.

When considering the evidence, questions arise regarding the importance of graphic collections for the development of the disciplines of connoisseurship and art history. Do they reflect a changing attitude towards circulating biographical information on the relevant artists? This leads on to considering trends and traditions in other fields of knowledge, like natural history or antiquarian studies. Information was gathered and displayed by means of visual, textual and diagrammatic structures that can give us clues regarding the formation, conception and reception of such erudite collections as (possible) predecessors of the relevant disciplines.


Annkatrin Kaul, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
“Procedures of Early Connoisseural Knowledge Production on the Pages of Sebastiano Resta´s Galleria Portatile. A brief Introduction to their Sources and Origins”

Sebastiano Resta´s Galleria Portatile includes over 250 drawings and prints from various Italian schools. The Codice’s most outstanding particularity is Padre Resta’s handwriting on every montage in form of annotations, notes and genealogies. His remarks frame the drawings aesthetically as well as on a contextual level. At times his writings serve as arguments for his connoisseural attributions or educate the reader about biographical or stylistic facts of a certain artist.  Resta’s vast knowledge of art literature and stylistic particularities is displayed on the sheets. He arranges traditional knowledge in a new way trying to create evidence.

This paper aims to enlighten the procedures of materialising Padre Resta´s connoisseural knowledge on the pages of his most intact album – the Galleria Portatile. It will focus on the interaction of his textual and graphic sources as well as their origins and contextual transformation processes throughout the procedure of their compilation.

Natalia Keller, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago de Chile
“Giorgio Bonola and the Codice Bonolaat the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago de Chile: History, Purpose and Ambitions”

The purpose of this paper is to present the so-called Codice Bonola and its author, painter and writer Giorgio Bonola (1657–1700). The artist, hugely inspired by the works of Sebastiano Resta, in the end of the 17thcentury composed a historiographic album including drawings, commentaries and genealogies that presented the development of Italian artistic schools. Specifically, in my research I revise and analyze the pieces Bonola included in his album, the ways he organized the drawings and relations between the images and text he included on the sheets. As a result it is possible to describe the motives that encouraged him to compose the album and discover the ambitions of the collector. In conclusion, this project, by closely examining the collecting strategies of Bonola –both a theoretician and a practitioner– presents a precedent example of the development of modern disciplines such as connoisseurship and art history.

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