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Catalogue Raisonné of Italian Drawings 1400-1600

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has one of the most important collections of Italian drawings in the world.

There are around 750 sheets covering four centuries (1400-1800), some 440 of them dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This does not include the 471 drawings in the two Gabburri Albums (401 sheets of drawings by Fra Bartolommeo, c.1500-17), the Gozzoli Album (20 sheets of drawings by pupils of Benozzo Gozzoli, c.1450-60) and a recently acquired Italian sketchbook (50 sheets of drawings by two anonymous artists, c. 1400-50 and 1525-50).

Getty Foundation

Despite its importance, the Italian drawings collection has yet to be fully researched and published. Thanks to a generous grant from the Getty Foundation the museum now has the opportunity to spend three years (2018-21) conducting research into the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century drawings, including rare works by Pisanello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giorgione, Raphael, Pontormo, Veronese and Tintoretto, which will culminate in the first part of a scholarly collection catalogue, published online. The Fra Bartolommeo drawings in the Gabburri Albums are outside the scope of this research; they will be published by Chris Fischer in his oeuvre catalogue of the artist which is also planned for 2022.

Getty Foundation
Correggio, The Coronation of the Virgin, circa 1522-1524, loan Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1940 (former collection Koenigs)

Research fellows

Each year during the three-year period, the research project employs a young graduate art historian as a Boijmans-Getty Paper Project Research Fellow for Italian Drawings. In the context of the professional development of a new generation of curators of drawings the fellows are involved with all of the regular activities of a curator. The research will take place in the Netherlands and abroad, especially in Italy. A research assistant, also funded by the Getty Foundation, will devote eighteen months to support activities, particularly the bibliography, the provenance of the individual drawings and the watermarks. The first fellow is Surya Stemerding, the research assistant is Cheyenne Wehren, both graduated early career art historians. The project is headed by senior curator dr. Albert Elen.

The project team will receive professional support from external specialists, including the academic staff of the Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’Arte (NIKI) in Florence. Every year there will be an international seminar in which questions about attribution and iconography will be discussed, with a presentation of the research results by that year’s fellow.

The grant from the Getty Foundation (part of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles) is awarded as part of their new subsidy programme The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century.