Call for Papers: Accident or Strategy. The Collecting of Drawings in 16th and 17th Century Italy

Job Offer from November 23, 2022

Gernsheim Study Days, 1012 May 2023

Rome, Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History

Invited keynote speakers: David Ekserdjian and Carel van Tuyll

Deadline 9 January 2022


With the overriding question of whether collectors purchased strategically or amassed drawings by accident, the Gernsheim Study Days at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in May 2023 hope to examine the full breadth of this early moment in the history of collecting works on paper.

Who collected drawings on for what purpose? How were collections organized and how were drawings arranged or displayed? What kind of public had access to the collections? What kind of sources are available? How is it possible to reconstruct a collection of drawings in the early modern period? What kind of drawings were being collected, and was their value regarding the artist or the or the subject? Who was selling drawings? How and when was a market for drawings established?

Papers might include examinations of known collections such as the one owned by Giorgio Vasari in Florence or the one in Palazzo Farnese in Rome, but also any contribution on lesser-known collections is most welcome. Key players might include Cavaliere Bairdo, Giulio Clovio, Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, Bernardo and Giuseppe Cesari, Leopoldo de’Medici, Filippo Baldinucci, Cristina of Sweden, and many others. In addition, foreign artists collecting drawings on their journey or foreign collectors living in, or passing through, Italy should also be considered.

Furthermore, also the role of the academies in Florence and Rome might be examined as well as different types of collections of drawings, such as workshop collections, artists’ collections, amateur collections, scientific collections etc.

Please upload the following application materials as PDF documents by is 9 January 2023 to

  • Title and a 250-word abstract of the proposed paper
  • Brief CV (maximum 2 pages)

Conference languages are English, German and Italian.

The Bibliotheca Hertziana will organize and pay for accommodation and reimburse travel costs (economy class) in accordance with the provisions of the German Travel Expenses Act (Bundesreisekostengesetz).


Conception and organisation: Tatjana Bartsch, Johannes Röll, Claire Van Cleave

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