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Description - The Antonio II Badile Album of Drawings: The Origins of Collecting Drawings in Early Modern Northern Italy by Evelyn Karet

Evelyn Karet's in-depth study of the Antonio II Badile Album - the earliest known example of an art collection pasted onto the pages of a book - is both focused and broad in its appeal to those interested in the early modern era. The provenance of the album is traced from its assemblage to the seventeenth-century collection of Conte Lodovico Moscardo to its dismantling by the dealer Francis Matthiesen in the 1950s, establishing that the volume conserved in the Frits Lugt Collection is not an original but a replica produced by Matthiesen. Although Antonio II must be celebrated as the collector of the drawings, new paleographic analysis has identified the actual compiler of the album after Antonio's death providing a terminus post quem in the late 1530s or early 1540s. Karet enlarges the focus from the album itself to the historic tradition of collecting drawings in northern Italy in the early modern era before Vasari, for which the album provides a new point of reference. Throughout the book, Karet discusses the Badile family, examines the individual drawings in the book, investigates the contacts between artists and humanists, their rich, diverse collections and the humanist mind-set that fostered the appreciation of drawings. She explores notable early drawing collections in northern Italy and the role of northern Italy as a center of collection in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The book concludes with two appendices: a reconstruction of the original album, including a discussion of the reconstruction process, suggestions about what the album originally looked like, and a page-by-page guide to its contents; and a detailed analysis of Francis Matthiesen's career. This book opens up new areas of inquiry into an overlooked subject.

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