Dust-Up at Caravaggio Drawings Press Conference

July 22nd, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

A reader sent along this link from the Corriere della Sera (Brescia edition). The article covers a press conference at Leno in the province of Bresica, where Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli discussed the newly identified Caravaggio drawings. The author of the article mentions that it’s hot in the room (it’s the hottest summer in 50 years) and tempers flare. Here’s the video:

If you can stand watching to the end, you’ll hear Curuz bring up Mina Gregori. He makes fun of Gregori for saying that Caravaggio didn’t draw.

This is where it’s easy to agree with him. Caravaggio at least drew with the stick end of the brush, pulling it through wet paint on canvas. It’s hard to imagine that a picture like the Martyrdom of St. Matthew could have been done without quite a number of drawings.



Early Caravaggio Drawings Reported Discovered at the Castello Sforzesco

July 5th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Ansa, the Italian Press Agency, and the Italian daily La Repubblica are reporting that 100 drawings by the young Caravaggio have been identified in the archives of Milan’s Castello Sforzesco. The drawings were culled from a group of close to 1,400 drawings done by Simone Peterzano and his students. Caravaggio was a student of the now almost forgotten Peterzano.

Caravaggio attr. | David | Chalk | Castello Sforzesco, Milan

La Repubblica has an online gallery of a few of the drawings. LINK HERE. Not to go immediately negative, the story reminds me of the Michelangelo at Fort Worth LINK HERE. To whip up interest, the drawings are being valued at 700,000,000 euros (that’s very near a billion!). Tomorrow, unsurprisingly, Amazon publishes the 600 page ebook. It’s written by Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz, from the Brera and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli.

15th c. Portrait Attributed to Piero del Pollaiuolo

February 1st, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

The leading lot at Sotheby’s, in their 25 January 2012 sale, was a drawing attributed to Piero del Pollaiuolo. California’s Getty Museum bought the drawing. The beautiful portrait drawing of a young man has been variously given to the Paduan school, Marco Zoppo, and to the Mantegna circle. The Sotheby’s entry on the drawing is very detailed and can be found here.

Attributed to Piero del Pollaiuolo | Portrait of a Young Man | Black chalk, pen and brown ink on paper | 360 x 228 mm | Sotheby’s Sale 25 Jan. 2012, lot 27

One of the works they compare lot 27 to is a drawing here in Rome at the Istituto Nazionale della Grafica. The Rome drawing is now assigned by the Istituto to Maso Finiguerra (a collaborator of the Pollaiuolo’s) although in the past it has been attributed to Francesco Pesellino, Antonio Pollaiuolo, and just simply 15th century Florentine school.  The Sotheby’s cataloguers refer to the Rome drawing as by the Circle of Pollaiuolo. Just below is the Rome drawing and, at least to me, it looks as though it could be the very same sitter. Here is a link to the Istituto’s  search form, where a better image of the Maso FIniguerra drawing may be found.

Maso Finiguerra | Profile of a Young Man | Pen and bistre ink, brush and brown watercolor, on ivory paper | 225 x 193 mm | Istituto Nazionale della Grafica, Rome


Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome

May 31st, 2011 § Comments Off on Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome § permalink

Ramps, if they’re beautiful and designed by Francesco Borromini, are less tiring than stairs. That’s how it seemed last week when we visited the Accademia di San Luca’s permanent collection on the top floor of Palazzo Carpegna. The galleries containing paintings, the self-portraits of members, casts, terracotta bozzetti, and the temporary exhibitions of drawings have reopened after too long. The installation hasn’t been completed, but somehow there was something very satisfying about the way the “Lavori in Corso” gallery looked. There was a gallery of drawings with mostly architectural sheets. The Accademia has about 3,500 architectural drawings, and 2,000+ figure drawings. The weekly l’Espresso, in this article (undated) reported that some drawings went missing, noting especially drawings by Palma Giovane.


Lavori in Corso | Door with Cutout | Accademia di San Luca | Rome


Lavori in Corso Room | Closer


Anatomical Drawings | Accademia di San Luca | Rome


Architectural Drawings | Accademia di San Luca, Rome

Casts Gallery | Accademia di San Luca, Rome






Drawings Collections and Digital Search Forms

January 31st, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

The table below lists drawings collections that can be searched online. By clicking on the collection name, you will be brought to their search forms. The most useful of the sites are of the Louvre, Joconde (French state museums), and the British Museum. This table will be updated, not in this post, but at a page dedicated to web resources (left side of home page and called Resources and Links). The Tate has a number of interesting pages about the intricacies of putting their collection online and the initial page can be found here.

CollectionCountryCity/Loc.No. of DrawingsNo. of Drawings OnlineNotes
Accademia Carrara, Ambrosiana, Brera, Poldi Pezzoli, and other Lombard CollectionsItalyLombardy Region3,223Site of the Beni Culturali, Lombardy
Albertina, Grafische SammlungAustriaVienna50,0005,000 prints and drawings online. Drawings not broken out.
Ambrosiana, BibliotecaItalyMilan12,0008,315
Art Institute of ChicagoUSAChicago11,5006,797
Ashmolean Museum - Oxford Univ.UKOxford5,090
Basel KunstmuseumSwitzerlandBasel300,000 prints, drawings, and watercolors. 2513 online
Berlin - Kupferstichkabinett - Staatliche Museen zu BerlinGermanyBerlin110,000550,000 prints and some 110,000 drawings, watercolours, pastels, and oil sketches
Biblioteca NacionalSpainMadrid45,0003,500
Birmingham Museums & Art GalleryUKBirmingham1600Pre-Raphaelite
Bologna – Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle StampeItalyBologna9,000192
Boston Museum of Fine ArtsUSABoston712
British MuseumUKLondon50,000
Chazen Museum of Art - University of WisconsinUSAMadison900Collection of British watercolors
Cleveland Museum of ArtUSACleveland3,7333,733
Cologne – Wallraf-RichartzGermanyCologne1,0001,000 19th century drawings in database. 75,000 prints and drawings in coll.
Courtauld Inst. of ArtUKLondon7,260
Detroit Institute of Fine ArtsUSADetroit2,50035,000 prints, drawings, photographs, watercolors, posters and artists books
Dresden – Staatliche KunstsammlungGermanyDresden377500,000 works on paper
École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-ArtsFranceParis65,00033,69420,000 drawings and 45,000 architectural drawings
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco/Achenbach Foundation for Graphic ArtsUSASan Francisco70,000 works on paper
Fitzwilliam Museum - Cambridge UniversityUKCambridge17,40640,000 paintings, drawings, and prints
Flemish Art Collections – Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, the Groeninge Museum Bruges and the Museum of Fine Arts GhentBelgiumAntwerp, Bruges, Ghent40,000
Getty MuseumUSALos Angeles700700
Harvard University Art Museums - Fogg, Busch-Reisinger etc.USACambridge24,451Fogg has 12,000 drawings.
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical GardensUSAMarino (Los Angeles)14,000 drawings
Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica (Calografica - Farnesina)ItalyRome7,132
LA County Museum of ArtUSALos Angeles
Leiden UniversityNetherlandsLeiden12,489
MAK - Österreichisches Museum fuer angewandte Kunst/GegenwartskunstAustriaVienna16,932Wiener Werkstätte drawings
Metropolitan Museum of ArtUSANew York15,00023,87156,663 prints and drawings
Morgan LibraryUSANew York12,0002,0002,000 images online as of 15 June 2014. All 12,000 by year end.
Museum of Modern ArtUSANew York10,0005,960
National Gallery of CanadaCanadaOttawa11,13624,000 prints and drawings. 5,595 drawings with images
National Gallery of DenmarkDenmarkCopenhagen60,000

Electronic Resources

August 16th, 2009 § Comments Off on Electronic Resources § permalink

The French win. Of the three websites on my bookmarks toolbar for researching drawings, two are French: Joconde and the Louvre. The other is the British Museum. I return to these again and again. You’d think that America, the land of computing and the World Wide Web, would have magnificent, complete resources, but no.  German electronic resources are also uneven.

The legacy of Diderot and the state structure of French museums have made their research websites remarkably strong.

The Louvre has 140,000 drawings online. For results, each page delivers 5 entries, mostly with thumbnail images that are sufficiently readable (unlike the BM, where the thumbnails are a bit small). If there are too many results, say for Stefano della Bella (there are 688 results or 138 pages) and it becomes laborious going through them all,  I then switch to Joconde which gives 100 results per page, and includes the Louvre and other state collections. The Louvre’s images are richer, so I weave back, via inventory number (listed under oeuvres),  to view the better images.

The British Museum’s database is also close to heavenly. Results include prints which can be good, but also overwhelming.