Evelyn Karet's in-depth study of the Antonio II Badile Album - the earliest known example of an art collection pasted onto the pages of a book - is both focused and broad in its appeal to those interested in the early modern era. The provenance of the album is traced from its assemblage to the seventeenth-century collection of Conte Lodovico Moscardo to its dismantling by the dealer Francis Matthiesen in the 1950s, establishing that the volume conserved in the Frits Lugt Collection is not an original but a replica produced by Matthiesen. Although Antonio II must be celebrated as the collector of the drawings, new paleographic analysis has identified the actual compiler of the album after Antonio’s death providing a terminus post quem in the late 1530s or early 1540s. Karet enlarges the focus from the album itself to the historic tradition of collecting drawings in northern Italy in the early modern era before Vasari, for which the album provides a new point of reference. Throughout the book, Karet discusses the Badile family, examines the individual drawings in the book, investigates the contacts between artists and humanists, their rich, diverse collections and the humanist mind-set that fostered the appreciation of drawings. She explores notable early drawing collections in northern Italy and the role of northern Italy as a center of collection in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The book concludes with two appendices: a reconstruction of the original album, including a discussion of the reconstruction process, suggestions about what the album originally looked like, and a page-by-page guide to its contents; and a detailed analysis of Francis Matthiesen's career. This book opens up new areas of inquiry into an overlooked subject.
'… this is an exceptionally interesting and meticulous book, whose supreme merit is to cast light on a hitherto distinctly overlooked but utterly absorbing corner of the admittedly seemingly endless artistic landscape of the Italian Renaissance.' Art Newspaper
'The major importance of the album undoubtedly lies not so much in the drawings themselves, as in the contribution that they make to our knowledge and understanding of the history of collecting. Karet devotes three chapters of her book to this issue, and while much that she writes offers a summation of a known history, she also makes some interesting and valuable new contributions to this history.' Renaissance Quarterly
Contents: The Antonio II Badile album of drawings, Evelyn Karet and Peter Windows; Workshops and patrons: a sketch for the milieu of Antonio II Badile, Alessandra Zamperini; The extant drawings of the Antonio II Badile album, Evelyn Karet; The origins of northern Italian collecting: humanist collections, Evelyn Karet; The history of collecting drawings in northern Italy: the first collectors and their collections, Evelyn Karet; A context for the Antonio II Badile album, Evelyn Karet; Appendix 1, James M. Karet and Evelyn Karet; Appendix 2, Evelyn Karet and Peter Windows; Appendix 3, Evelyn Karet; Bibliography; Index.