Call for Papers | Marginal Drawing Techniques

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 5, 2018

From H-ArtHist:

Marginal Drawing Techniques as an Aesthetic Strategy, 1600–1800
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte München, Munich, 5 October 2018

Proposals due by 20 April 2018

Cennino Cennini’s metaphorical description of drawing as the “entrance and gateway to painting” provides an important indication of the purpose of drawing around 1400. Beyond its role in the execution of panel paintings, to the present day, drawing serves in the enhancement of motifs as a repository of alternatives and as ‘finger exercise’ for the development of routine manual dexterity—the prerequisite for a “free hand” (Albrecht Dürer).

Beyond the specific appreciation of “freehand drawing,” which reached a particular zenith in the eighteenth century, artists of all periods used different techniques for organising the drawing process, both materially and economically. They traced and pounced, made counter-proofs and impressions, and produced natural imprints and cliché verres. However, it would appear that the characteristics of such processes cannot be adequately explained in terms of the mere simplification of the process of creating a drawing. Instead, the aforementioned techniques or processes also served in the stimulation of the imagination, which was inspired, for example, by more or less random blots and smudges; similarly, cutting and pasting techniques contributed to the flexible arrangement of variations.

In view of the fact that such techniques generally assume a less prominent role in the study of drawing, as they also raise questions of quality for the art trade and collection history, it is intended to explicitly explore the functional and aesthetic importance of these marginal processes in case studies beyond the Alps during the period from around 1600 to around 1800. The aim here is to understand technical skill and versatility as a condition of creative and artistic-intellectual performance and to increase awareness of the correlation between theory and practice with a view, not least, to making the case for a greater focus on artistic-technical processes.

Possible key questions and issues in relation to the proposed sections include:

Tracing–Verso: Which tracing techniques exist and what functions did they fulfil? What is the role of the reverse side of the drawing here? To what extent does the tracing process become visible in the drawing process? Is it covered during the further execution of the work or visually highlighted in other cases? Where does the upgrading of the tracing process become evident?

Counter-Proofs–Inversion: The question regarding the different techniques and functions of counter-proofs also arises here. How do the reproductive printing techniques relate to this? Which sensoria and semantizations were developed for the side-inverted image? How can these be embedded in terms of cultural history, also on the basis of documentary sources (workshop treatises, art criticism, literature)?

Klecksography–Random Processes: As is generally known, Leonardo saw blots and cloud formations as a huge stimulus for the imagination. Artists resorted to processes that were only controlled to a limited extent to incorporate a certain principle of chance into the drawing process. However, these processes often only prove to be random on a superficial level: they were executed with extreme bodily motor skill and were intended to evoke a certain studied facility (sprezzatura).

Cut and Paste: The value of a treasury of motifs is particularly evident in the repeated use of models and patterns. Individual parts of a drawing could be cut out, stuck on and removed again for editing and checking a new draft. What are the artistic implications of such a procedure? And how can the cut & paste process be related to other techniques?

Repetition–Palimpsest: Finally, it is planned to examine practices involving the repetition of drawings and the cultural-historical dimensioning of drawings as a palimpsest.

Please send an abstract (max. 500 words) and a short CV for a 20-minute presentation in German or English by 20 April 2018 to marginalia@zikg.eu. Travel costs (economy class) and accommodation in accordance with the provisions of the German Travel Expenses Act will be covered.

Scientific Conception: Iris Brahms (Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Cologne), Thomas Ketelsen (Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Cologne), Ulrich Pfisterer (Institut für Kunstgeschichte der LMU, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte Munich)


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