Nicola Suthor

Nicola Suthor

Francesco De Dombrowski Visiting Professor
Meta/Physics of Drawing
Nicola Suthor


Nicola Suthor is Professor in the History of Art at Yale University. Her research is an effort to understand how thinking about art comes to grips with thinking in art. Her present research project “Meta/Physics of Drawing: Trains of Thought and the Artist’s Line” deals with the entanglement of ideologies and practices of drawing in early modern Europe. She published her first book on Titian's painterly style (Augenlust bei Tizian. Zur Konzeption sensueller Malerei in der Frühen Neuzeit, Munich 2004), her second on Bravura: Virtuosity and Ambition in Early Modern European Painting (Munich, 2010; a heavily revisited English version will come out December 2020 with Princeton University Press), and her third on Rembrandt's Roughness (Princeton University Press, 2018).


Project Summary

During her two-month stay at I Tatti, Nicola Suthor will undertake a critical analysis and discursive contextualization of Federico Zuccari's treatise L’Idea de’ Pittori, Scultori, et Architetti (1607) and in particular of his eminent concept of disegno interno. Zuccari divides his concept of disegno into multiple chapters, creating by means of various subcategories an apparently seamless transition between inner conception and outer drawing. His ambitious project has been dismissed by art history as a Mannerist fantasy due to its many references to thoroughly heterodox traditions of thought, but the significance of Zuccari’s definition lies in its thematization of the production process of mental representation. Zuccari does not understand disegno to mean a fixed image, but rather a form- and knowledge-building activity.