Occhio! Unknown drawings from Italy
Come and visit the exhibition 'Occhio! Unknown drawings from Italy'. The exhibition will disclose a selection of Italian drawings from the library to a wider audience for the first time.
- Art Historical Research
- The exhibition: from frescoes in Florence to gold enhanced altarpieces
- The researchers
For the first time the exhibition Occhio! Unknown drawings from Italy will disclose a selection of Italian drawings from the library to a wider audience. The Renaissance and Baroque era will be represented with rare examples of Italian draughtsmanship. Designs for frescoes by Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro, figure studies from the workshop of Filippino Lippo and a drawing for an important altarpiece by Jacopo Ligozzi are just some of the treasures on display.
The exhibition can be viewed until 27 September at the Library (Witte Singel 27, Leiden) in the exhibition space near the entrance.
You can also view the exhibited materials online.
Drawing was fundamental to Italian art. Disegno, as the Italians call it, was a basic skill for all artists, painters, sculptors and artisans alike. Leiden University Library holds a small but interesting collection that illustrates the different stages of Italian draughtsmanship, from quick sketches (primi pensieri) to elaborate independent art works.
Extensive research into the Leiden drawings has led to new art historical insights. Some of the drawings have found new attributions. The art historical evidence has been supplemented by technical research: microscopic observations and X-ray fluorescence spectometry have added new information on the use of drawing materials and enabled the researchers to support attributions or the dating of the drawings. “True or false?” is a question that can benefit from the latest technology. For this reason Leiden University and Delft University of Technology have joined forces and work together in the Centre of Art and Archaeological Sciences (CAAS
The exhibition Occhio! Unknown drawings from Italy focuses on Italian draughtsmanship from the 1480s until the end of the eighteenth century and offers an interesting survey of its development. Prominent pieces are two designs by Federico Zuccaro for the cupola of the cathedral in Florence, drawn in competition with Giorgio Vasari, rapid landscape views by Guercino, and a very rare gold enhanced Pietà by Jacopo Ligozzi, a design for the altarpiece in the memorial chapel of Giambologna in the SS. Annunziata in Florence. A variant design is hidden by a small ‘door’ that can be opened for viewing. Some drawings by Dutch artists who worked mainly in Italy (Johannes Stradanus, Paul Bril) are on display as well. All in all the exhibition shows some 40 drawings.
The exhibition has been organized by Gert Jan van der Sman, professor of Graphic Arts at Leiden University, in collaboration with the University Library and the Dutch Art Historical Institute (NIKI) in Florence. “It is a shame that hardly anyone realizes what precious Italian drawings Leiden University Library possesses. Technical research into paintings has become common in the last decades. For drawings this is still a novelty. Technological developments stimulate new research and opens new perspectives to art historians, especially when different disciplines cooperate like they do in CAAS.” Van der Sman was assisted by Master student Joost Joustra and curator Jef Schaeps of Leiden University Libraries, as well as by Han Harthoorn, who performed the microscopic and X-ray research.