Arte-Facts: Drawings as Legal and Juridical Objects in Early Modern Italy
Linda Mueller | Samuel H. Kress Foundation
This dissertation studies artistic and notarial drawings in legal and juridical documents––such as contracts, testaments, and court records––in Renaissance Italy. Only a few of these drawings have survived, and fewer still in their original contexts within notarial archives and files. The investigation begins by illuminating the drawings’ ties to the material culture of medieval legal documents from around 1400 and traces their shifting institutional and theoretical frameworks within notarization practices and legal-humanist discourse through the early seventeenth century. The project addresses the drawings’ impact on processes of decision-making and identity formation of civic and religious bodies as well as on the creation of normative and legal spaces, in which visual media played a crucial role. Mapping out the multifold normative legal elements of disegno, the project contributes to a broader and more nuanced understanding of the notions of drawing and its practices in early modern Italy.