Invention and Design: Early Italian Drawings at the Morgan, The Morgan Library & Museum, February 15 – May 19, 2019

A new exhibition celebrates the Morgan Library & Museum’s extensive collection of Italian Drawings, exploring how the concept of disegno (a word that means both ‘drawing’ and ‘design’) emphasized the artist’s creative power and fundamentally changed Italian Renaissance art. Invention and Design: Early Italian Drawings at the Morgan tells the story of how drawing practice evolved dramatically during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. This exhibition is the first to focus on the Morgan’s drawings from this extraordinarily fertile period in art history. It features over 90 works by masters such as Mantegna, Filippo and Filippino Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Correggio, Fra Bartolomeo, and Andrea del Sarto. The show is timed to mark an important milestone: the publication of the first catalogue to survey this collection, Italian Renaissance Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum.” — The Morgan Library & Museum

“The Morgan’s collection of Italian Renaissance Drawings is one of the country’s largest, notably rich in drawings by artists born before 1500,” said John Marciari, curator of the exhibition and Head of the Drawings and Prints Department. “It includes some of the earliest true preparatory drawings and compositional sketches, which makes the Morgan uniquely positioned to provide a historical account of the evolution of Italian drawing practice. By offering a glimpse into these transformations in drawing practice, we are delighted to give visitors a kind of behind-the-scenes look at the culture that shaped some of the most astonishing works of the Italian Renaissance.”

Recumbent Ibex and Dog. Verso: Lynx and a Recumbent Unicorn, 15th century, The Morgan Library & Museum, I, 83 . Photography by Steven H. Crossot, 2014.

Andrea Mantegna (1431 – 1506), Three Standing Saints , ca. 1455 – 1460, pen and brown ink on laid paper toned with red chalk. Thaw Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum, 1985.100 . Photography by Steven H. Crossot, 2014.

Lorenzo Costa (1460 – 1535), Head of a Bearded Man Looking Down to the Right, and a Hand, 15th century, brush and gray-brown ink, heightened with white gouache, over metalpoint, on gray-brown prepared paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, IV, 6. Photography by Steven H. Crossot, 2014.

Andrea del Sarto (1486 – 1530), Young Man Taking a Step, with a Basket and Balancing a Sack, 16th century, black chalk on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, I, 30 . Photography by Steven H. Crossot, 2014.

Giovanni Agostino da Lodi (active ca. 1467–ca. 1524), Head of a Bearded Man in Profile to the Right, ca. 1500, red chalk on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, 1973.35:1, Gift of János Scholz. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.

Giovanni Agostino da Lodi (active ca. 1467–ca. 1524), Head of a Youth Facing Left, 15th century, red chalk on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, 1973.35:2; Gift of János Scholz. Photography by Graham Haber, 2018.

Attributed to Correggio (1489? – 1534), Head of a Woman Crying Out, 1511 – 1514. Charcoal and black chalk, blended with white chalk. The Morgan Library & Museum, IV, 30. Photography by Steven H. Crossot, 2014.

Images courtesy The Morgan Library & Museum.