AHVC Research Talk: Collecting Raphael’s drawings in an artist workshop (14.11.2017)

The Art History & Visual Cultures Research Centre invites you to a research seminar with

Claudia La Malfa, The American University of Rome

Collecting Raphael’s drawings in an artist workshop. Francesco Villamena’s prints after Raphael and his collection of Raphael’s drawings

Tuesday 14th November 2017 at 6pm in Keynes Seminar Room 6, University of Kent

Francesco Villamena, born in Assisi, c. 1564, was an appreciated print maker active in Rome from the end of the 16th century until his sudden death in 1624. From the archival inventories discovered and published by Franca Trinchieri Camiz in 1994, emerges that Villamena had an important works of art collection.

His collection included classical statues, 15th- and 16th-centuries prints, paintings and drawings of the old masters, a few of which were attributed to Raphael. Villamena’s activity as a print maker, and his etchings of Raphael’s works, show how Raphael was popular at the beginning of the century. His print of the 16th century copy of the de’ Medici’s Madonna dell’Impannata found in the collection of Neapolitan aristocrat Matteo di Capua demonstrates how Raphael’s paintings, even his good quality copies, were considered to mark the high social status of a collector. This paper intends to argue that Villamena’s collection exemplifies a crucial historical moment in the history of collection of Raphael’s paintings and drawings. Villamena’s collection of Raphael’s drawings shows that at the beginning of the 17th century the old master’s drawings were collected not only for the use of the artists and their workshops, but also as objects of artistic value destined to enter the art market. Finally, it will be shown how an important finito drawing produced by Raphael during his early years of activity, and today in the Uffizi’s Prints and Drawings Department, was in Villamena’s collection at the beginning of the 17th century.

Claudia La Malfa lives and works in Rome, Italy. She received her PhD from the Warburg Institute, University of London, in 20013, and taught at the University of St Andrews, Naples and Ravenna. She currently teaches History of Art at the American University of Rome, where she holds courses for undergraduate students and for MA students at the University of Kent in Rome. Since 2015 she is Visiting Lecturer of the University of Kent. She published the book Pintoricchio Fresco Cycles and the Revival of the Antique, Silvana Editoriale 2008 (funded by the Commission for Ecclesiastical Heritage), and has extensively published in peer-review journals and collected volumes on Botticelli’s Primavera, Filippino Lippi’s drawings, Bernardino Pintoricchio’s frescoes, Renaissance sculptors in Rome, history of collecting, and the revival of antique in the Renaissance.