The Antonio II Badile Album of Drawings – ‘an exceptionally interesting and meticulous book’

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

The Antonio Il Badile Album of Drawings‘This is an exceptionally interesting and meticulous book, whose supreme merit is to cast light on a hitherto distinctly overlooked but utterly absorbing corner of the admittedly seemingly endless artistic landscape of the Italian Renaissance.’

So writes world-renowned authority on Italian Renaissance painting Professor David Ekserdjian in November’s issue of The Art Newspaper, on Evelyn Karet’s The Antonio II Badile Album of Drawings: The Origins of Collecting Drawings in Early Modern Northern Italy.

The book makes a major contribution to the study of North Italian drawings, a field that has been relatively neglected when compared with Tuscan drawings of the Renaissance. The album in question is the earliest known example of an art collection pasted onto the pages of a book, and Karet traces its long history, from its assemblage in the late 1530s to its dismantling in the 1950s by dealer Francis Matthiesen. Matthiesen photographed the album in its entirety before taking it apart, meaning that Karet is able to discuss what the album originally looked like and draw conclusions about its organisation. The volume is supplemented by appendices providing a reconstruction of the original album and a page-by-page guide to its contents.

Karet uses the album as a new point of reference for the collecting of drawings in northern Italy in the early modern era before Vasari. She discusses the Badile family, the contact between artists and humanists, and the hitherto little-acknowledged role of Verona as an exceptionally early centre of collection in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Evelyn Karet holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is a Scholar in Residence in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Clark University, USA where she was previously Associate Professor and taught Renaissance Art History. A scholar of late Gothic and Renaissance art, she has also taught at Boston College, Wheaton College, and the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program in Italy.

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