Aesthetic Practices of Early Modern ‘Pen Works’
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.
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.