Prints, drawings, and the Museum. 

Gabinetti Disegni e Stampe in Italy, 1861-1909 

Firenze: Edifir, 2022

That museums exhibit prints and drawings, and only for a limited time due to preservation reasons, was not a self-evident fact in nineteenth-century Italy. Theories about appropriate repositories and curatorial practices for graphic art changed fundamentally between 1861 and 1909 with the foundation of gabinetti disegni e stampe. Two factors drove this transformation. First, the increased aesthetic and scholarly value placed on drawings and prints fed the autonomy of graphic art collections within their institutional environment. Second, the recognition of the damage caused by prolonged exposure to light led to giving up permanent displays for the sake of preservation. Drawing on largely unpublished archival material, this book traces the establishment of gabinetti disegni e stampe by looking at nine state museums in Italy (Bologna, Florence, Milan, Modena, Naples, Parma, Rome, Turin, and Venice). Their collections are analysed against broader shifts in the assessment of prints and drawings and the evolving mission of art museums. Further, the book examines the role of art historians Paul James Kristeller, Adolfo Venturi, and Corrado Ricci, the driving forces behind the transformation of art on paper curatorship at the museum.

This book is based on my PhD thesis, defended in December 2019 at the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, Italy.

Advisor: Emanuele Pellegrini; Committee: Donata Levi (Udine); Ingrid Vermeulen (Amsterdam)

You can buy a copy of my book here.