Academic Session 26: Edinburgh 2016

AAH2016 Annual Conference and Bookfair
University of Edinburgh
7 - 9 April 2016

Style as History: Self-reflective moments in drawing


Amy Concannon, Tate Britain,
Iris Wien, Institut für Kunstwissenschaften und Historische Urbanistik, Technical University Berlin,

Since the Renaissance drawings have been inextricably linked with their authors. Drawings were thought to embody in a seemingly direct and unmediated way the artist’s pictorial thinking. They were understood as both traces of the process of artistic creation and highly idiosyncratic demonstrations of the manipulation of line, form and texture. More recently, increased attention has been paid to drawing as a discipline replete with its own tacit conventions and handed-down formulae that not only guides the learner in the acquisition of a certain facility and skill but also reveals the collective aspect of the art as a system of rule-bound notations. Concurrent with the efforts of academies to promote drawing as a universal visual language, the drawing collections of the 16th and 17th centuries and more particularly the great 18th-century cabinets, along with the ensuing publications by renowned collectors and connoisseurs, fostered an historical understanding of this art.

This session explores how artists across Europe have dealt with these developments. How have they reacted to different conceptions of stylistic formation when developing their own manner of drawing or engaging with drawing styles of the past? What kind of role has the recourse to – or rejection of – past traditions of drawing played in the construction of artists’ identities and their self-positioning within the competitive arena of contemporary draughtsmanship? It examine how the historicity of form is reflected in drawings from the early modern period to the present day.

Click here to download a .pdf of this session's paper abstracts

Alessia Frassani (Leiden University) Native Artists and European Illustrations in 16th-Century New Spain

Juliet Carey (Waddesdon Manor, National Trust) Blood and Earth: Thinking about red chalk

David Blayney Brown (Tate Britain) Imitation and Connoisseurship: the masterly drawings of David Wilkie

Freya Spoor (University of Edinburgh) Revival or Reinvention? The changing status of pastel as an art practice in late-19th-century Britain

Andrew Symons
(Edinburgh College of Art and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) From the Invisible Powers: Joseph Beuys’s early drawings

Deborah Harty (Loughborough University & Nottingham Trent University) Temporal Trace: A phenomenological approach

Isabel Seligman (British Museum) ‘After Rubens after Michelangelo’: Glenn Brown and the politics of appropriation