Reading Between the Lines: How New Chain Line Evidence Can Answer Old Questions About Raphael's Roman Circle and the Leonardeschi in Milan


ACLS Fellowship Program




A surprisingly large number of Renaissance drawings held in museums today are still cataloged as "Unknown Artist." Beyond traditional art historical methods used to suggest a possible author (such as connoisseurship, provenance, or subject matter), new software makes it possible to analyze the material construction of the paper support, which in turn can yield information about where and when the paper was purchased by the artist. This project uses Moldmate Verification Toolkit (MVT) software to study drawings by artists working alongside Leonardo da Vinci in Milan and Raphael in Rome between the 1490s and the 1520s. The resulting evidence helps us better understand the makeup of these important "drawing communities" that are otherwise undocumented, resolving long standing attribution and chronology debates.