Serenella Rolfi Ožvald

The artist at the writing-desk

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


The letters of artists have represented a source of information about facts, forms, languages and contents, a body of sources that artistic criticism has elected as its privileged literary genre since Giovanni Gaetano Bottari's "Raccolta di lettere started in 1754". The Bottari editorial enterprise opened a new anthropological perspective on artist as public writer. Within this context the essay (firstly examines how and if the image of learned artist provided by Bottari has been endorsed by artists, through the analysis of their self-portraits, the libraries inventory (of A. Canova, G. Bossi, A. von Maron, A. Trippel, but also the wills of A. Kau0man and Delacroix). Secondly this brief historical outline aims to verify in which way the traditional and stereotypes use of the source had cooperated to lose the artist+s image as young: his background, his vernacular lexical features and the different communicative registers of letters censored by publishers of the nineteenth-century. Thirdly it is suggested a reflection on the complex nature of artists' correspondence in which into the frame of sheet shall closely cooperate pen and pencil, exhibiting not only texts but also sketches. This typology of documents and also the peculiar qualities of painterly letters, dispersed in autograph collections, display the complex nature of these documents and the speci(c articulated register of artists' letter. These ego documents and the prismatic image of the artist at the writingdesk, allowed us to acknowledged the complex nature of the artistic epistolary opening up new strategies of investigation and search criteria.

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