Getty Research Journal 4 (2012)

Posted in journal articles by Editor on March 29, 2012

The eighteenth century in the latest Getty Research Journal:

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Adriano Amendola, “Frames for Drawings in Roman Collections: A Case Study,” Getty Research Journal 4 (2012): 45–56.
Using salient examples and on the basis of a comparative analysis of archival data from the Provenance Index® databases of the Getty Research Institute, this paper identifies the typologies of frames used to display drawings in Roman collections of the 17th and 18th centuries. The phenomenon of exhibiting framed drawings, which has not been fully studied up to now, began during the early 1600s when refined collectors began to display the drawings in their collections on the walls of their residences instead of keeping them in albums or drawers. The chromatic quality of the drawings was enhanced by the frames, which were gilded, black, wood-colored, or white, and usually quite simple in design, as in the Salvator Rosa type. In such frames, drawings could hold their own with paintings as part of an arrangement of works on a wall. With the dissemination of academic drawings of nudes, instituted by the most important Roman families during the course of the 17th century, framed drawings began to occupy an important position in collections, soon becoming the focal point of entire rooms devoted to a particular theme.

• Alden R. Gordon, “A Rare Engraving of an Italian Rococo Parade Apartment of 1736: Andrea Bolzoni’s Print of the Interior of the Palazzo Cervelli in Ferrara,” Getty Research Journal 4 (2012): 57–74.

Engraved images of real secular interiors are rare before 1790. Even more rare are illustrations of nonroyal houses in which the domestic and parade apartments are depicted fully furnished, with portable objects that were actually in use. An illustration by Andrea Bolzoni (1689–1760) accompanying the publication in 1736 of a poem by Jacopo Agnelli (1701 or 1702–99) celebrating a grand festival given by Fortunato Cervelli (1683–1755), the Holy Roman imperial consul in Ferrara, on the occasion of the marriage of Maria Theresa of Austria (1717–80), female heiress to the Habsburg dynasty, provides an exceptional record of Cervelli’s nonroyal suite of parade apartments decorated in a unique “chinoiserie” variant of the Rococo style. The actual decorative interiors represented were prompted by a special set of political and commercial circumstances designed to project the Habsburg interests abroad in the Papal States.

Web extra: Appendix (PDF, 14pp., 11.7 MB)—a transcription of and room-by-room commentary on the engraving

• Vimalin Rujivacharakul, “How to Map Ruins: Yuanming Yuan Archives and Chinese Architectural History,” Getty Research Journal 4 (2012): 91–108.

In 1860, the 18th-century European-style pavilions, along with the rest of the Yuanming Yuan imperial palace in Beijing, China, were burned down during an invasion of the palace by Anglo-French troops. Thereafter, with further looting and physical aggression, the former Qing dynasty architectural marvel continually deteriorated into complete ruin. By the turn of the 20th century, the only remaining visual reference of its original state was a set of 20 engravings that showed selected building facades. No plans, sections, or other architectural data were available. The situation changed dramatically in the 1930s. Within a few years, researchers of different backgrounds—Chinese, American, and French—began publishing their research on the European-style pavilions and displaying materials that had never appeared before the public. This article examines the sudden emergence of those visual archives and reveals some of their interestingly intertwined stories. Furthermore, by discussing ways in which the new archives contributed to a rereading of the old ruins, it also explores a long-standing paradox in architectural history: How, in reality, did historians connect what they saw on paper to the buildings that no longer existed?

Acquisitions & Discoveries

Stephanie Schrader, Nancy Turner, and Nancy Yocco, “Naturalism under the Microscope: A Technical Study of Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam,Getty Research Journal 4 (2012): 161–72.

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