From Natural to Artificial and Back Again

From Natural to Artificial and Back Again


March 4, 2018

3:00 PM-4:00 PM


225 South St
Williamstown, MA 01267

The Renaissance and Baroque era saw a dramatic development in the types of drawings made by European artists. On one hand, new theories of naturalism changed the relationship of artists to the world around them. On the other hand, the elevated status of artists and the rise of a new class of connoisseurs and collectors led to a growing self-consciousness on the part of artists and new heights of artificiality in the kinds of drawings they made.

Focusing on the Renaissance and Baroque drawings in the Thaw Collection, including examples by Pisanello, Mantegna, Fra Bartolommeo, Altdorfer, Claude Lorrain, Rubens, and Rembrandt, this lecture given by John Marciari, Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library & Museum, traces the shift from model-book to sketch-book drawing in the early Renaissance; the development of new kinds of autonomous drawings and the mannered style often associated with them in the sixteenth century; and the revival of naturalism in the seventeenth century.

Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Presentation at the Clark is made possible by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust. Major support is provided by the Fernleigh Foundation in memory of Clare Thaw. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Image: Andrea Mantegna (Italian, 1431–1506), Three Standing Saints (detail), c. 1450–55. Pen and brown ink, on paper toned with red chalk on paper, 1/4 × 5/16 × 7 3/8 in. Morgan Library & Museum, Thaw Collection, 1985.100