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Current Rese­arch Project: The Anti­qua­rian Drawing as a Site of Crea­tive Invention

The current Census rese­arch project will explore crea­tive inven­tion in drawings inspired by the antique by Renais­sance artists and archi­tects. It will ques­tion the metho­do­lo­gical tradi­tion of regar­ding anti­qua­rian drawings as ‘docu­ments’ for the Nach­leben of antique monu­ments, conside­ring the role of crea­ti­vity, inven­tion and artistic expres­sion. Recent work, parti­cu­larly on the drawings of Maarten van Heems­kerck, has opened up new approa­ches which require further explo­ra­tion in the field of anti­qua­rian studies gene­rally. What role do artistic agency and self-repre­sen­ta­tion play in drawings ‘after’ the antique, not only those which can be attri­buted to well-known figures but also anony­mous drawings? How can the purpose, func­tion and audi­ence of these drawings be considered in rela­tion to issues of artistic expres­sion and crea­tive invention? 

What role do the disci­plines of archaeo­logy and art history play in the inter­pre­ta­tion of anti­qua­rian drawings, and what is at stake in preser­ving their status as docu­ments?  The project will develop first as an inter­na­tional confe­rence, with further details to come.

Amico Asper­tini, ‘London II’, British Museum, fol. 27r, detail

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