The archaeology of Raphael’s drawings: uncovering new sketches and methodologies
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 18.00–19.30
Angelamaria Aceto (Ashmolean)
The paper will explore Raphael as draughtsman with a focus on the materiality of his drawings, and in so doing it will present new discoveries. Over the past thirty years, approaches to the study of works on paper have gradually moved beyond univocal questions of connoisseurship. Recent research shows the effectiveness of looking at drawings as archaeological objects: questions on materials and techniques provide new insights into the cognitive and gestural nature of drawing, while scientific analytical methods can be an effective aid to uncover major information. Raphael offers an extraordinary case-study. From chalks to charcoal, inks, washes and metalpoints, there was no medium that he did not employ. Of each he exploited their potential to create objects of extreme beauty and eloquence in their own right. In looking at a range of Raphael’s sheets across his career, particular emphasis will be placed on their ‘stratigraphy’, and on the artist’s graphic intelligence and profound visual culture that the layers reveal.
Angelamaria Aceto is a drawing specialist and a long-standing member of staff at the Ashmolean Museum, where she has covered a variety of roles over the past ten years. She is currently part of a major research project aimed at re-cataloguing the museum’s collection of Italian drawings from the Renaissance to the present. Her work reflects her concerns with the functions, uses and materiality of works on paper and with questions of connoisseurship, as well as her broader interest in architectural history.
Raphael has been at the centre of her research since working on the award-winning show Raphael: the drawings (Ashmolean Museum, 2017), which was devoted to Raphael and eloquence in drawings.