The Paper Project

Touched/Retouched: Paper across Time (1400–1800)

Unlike paintings, paper objects can be altered quickly and easily. Their support registers concerns over their fragility and discloses how they were cared for and maintained, touched and retouched: heightened, overdrawn, infilled, or trimmed; mounted, framed, bound, or strung; inscribed, numbered, or stamped; folded, cut, glued, bleached, or overlaid with other media.

Among drawing specialists, detecting and dating these alterations is considered to be largely a matter of tacit knowledge. The intensive, hands-on workshop at the center of this initiative provides object-based training to the next generation of curators in the graphic arts. It focuses on premodern practices of care and their recovery through the study of objects’ material histories.

This project is made possible with support from Getty through The Paper Project initiative. It is organized by the Lise Meitner Group in collaboration with the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica. Aimed at early career specialists entering the field, it advances a materially layered understanding of paper, fostering collaboration between academics, curators, and conservators. The intensive workshop will lay the groundwork for future research and curatorial activities on the BHMPI drawing collections.

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