About

The ‘learned artist’, or doctus artifex, is the subject of a well-known article by Jan Bialostocki on artists’ libraries in the 16th and 17th centuries. The books and ideas that circulated among artists through the centuries – early craft treatises, alchemical texts, model books, anatomy texts, aesthetic writings, technical manuals – give an insight into the history of art that isn’t revealed through the study of patronage, completed masterpieces, and movements. To understand the history of art from the side of the practitioners, it is necessary to have an appreciation of the books that shaped workshop practices and artistic training. In addition to influential texts, the social and technological changes that affected studio practice contribute to this ‘Annales School’ approach to art history. This blog is designed to be a forum for discussing these – and related – ideas.

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