I’m pictured here in the conservation lab of the Royal Library and Print Room at Windsor Castle where I spent time with the paper conservator to look at some drawings that had been mounted on stiff fiberboard during the nineteenth century. This was considered a superior method of preserving old master drawings such as those on the table by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (called Il Grechetto). Castiglione was a Genoese artist who became famous for his brush drawings in oil pigments on unprimed paper, pen and ink studies, as well as etchings. He seems to have been the first to have produced monotypes.
More than 300 sheets attributed to Castiglione and his workshop have been part of the Royal Collection since George III acquired them in 1762. I’ve been looking at these drawings since 1978, and it eventually came to pass that an exhibition of his Windsor drawings would be produced, and in fact, it did, this past November 1. Castiglione: Lost Genius opened in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London. I was fortunate to co-curate this exhibition with Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection Trust. This exhibition will head to Edinburgh before it will be shown in Denver during the summer of 2015. Our accompanying exhibition catalog includes a narrative on this artist who was more feared than loved. More on that in a future blog post.