Italian Master Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Essay by Ann Percy
Catalogue by Mimi Cazort
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is fortunate to have a collection of Italian drawings that encompasses a broad sweep of Italy’s art history, ranging from Renaissance and Baroque to Futurist and contemporary works by such famed artists as Parmigianino, Francesco Salviati, Guercino, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Pompeo Batoni, and Amedeo Modigliani. With this publication, eighty of these drawings are provided with insightful commentary, complete scholarly analysis, and biographies of the artists by the renowned scholar Mimi Cazort. The volume opens with a lively illustrated essay by Ann Percy, the Museum’s Curator of Drawings, who offers the first full account of the people and events that shaped the formation of this exceptional but little-published collection.
While individual gifts and purchases have been the source of key additions to the Italian drawings in the Museum’s Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, much of the range and depth of this material is owed to the acquisition of two large collections. In 1978 the Museum received by bequest, from the estate of the eminent art historian Anthony Morris Clark, a group of outstanding drawings, principally from eighteenth-century Rome. A few years later, with the acquisition of nearly twenty-five hundred (mostly Italian) Old Master drawings from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Museum substantially strengthened and expanded its collection of Italian drawings by artists from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries; and from other cities in Italy besides Rome—including Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, and Venice.
The international significance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection of Italian drawings is borne out by its selection for inclusion in Amilcare Pizzi’s distinguished series I grandi disegni italiani, which has included volumes on the collections of the Uffizi, the Albertina, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, and the Hermitage, among others.
Ann Percy has been Curator of Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1972. Mimi Cazort is the former Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.