Publication Date

April 2017


Ruth Noyes


Art History, College of Letters


English (United States)


Study of Sandro Botticelli’s graphic oeuvre – his drawings for the Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy) specifically – has long been at issue and unfrequented in art historical study, due in large to the transmission of the artist’s problematic biography and a lack of technical study of the art objects themselves. By first disassembling Botticelli’s complex historiographic inheritance, originally subverted by Giorgio Vasari, this study brings into question the accuracy of primary artistic biography, and the role it still plays in modern scholarship. By then examining and synthesizing the drawings’ material properties, with the incorporation of quantitative and digital media methodologies, this project offers a deconstruction of the “ideal” Renaissance, artistic process, as inherited by Vasari. These analyses in historical, rhetorical transmission, when combined with material evidence, propose instead that the artist worked according to an unsystematic, nonlinear method of production that seeks to elevate Botticelli’s graphic output and edify his modern biography.



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