Elvira Bojilova

Elvira Bojilova

Wallace Fellow for the Study of Works on Paper
Aesthetic Practices of Early Modern ‘Pen Works’
Elvira Bojilova


Elvira Bojilova studied Art History and German Philology in Heidelberg and Hamburg, where she earned her PhD in 2019 with a dissertation on theoretical reflections of hatching in the early modern period. Prior to joining I Tatti, she was a predoctoral fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut in the Department of Gerhard Wolf.



Project Summary

The project focuses on a type of pen drawing that is nowadays known as a so-called ‘pen work’. By mimicking the swelling lines of intaglio prints, these drawings are virtually indistinguishable from engravings. Following up on notions of the ‘autonomous’ drawing, the research will unfold a narrative of how the imitation of the printed line was used in order to achieve mimetic qualities, and how the technique contributed to a perception that positioned the ‘pen work’ against the much more popular sketch. Moreover, a closer analysis of these specific perception modes involved in ‘pen works’ will show how their frequent dismissal by early modern theorists was based on a preference for drawing that showcased different characteristics altogether.