Tatiana Bissolati

Courtauld Institute of Art

Project Title: Raphael metamorphosed, ca. 1510-ca. 1580: a study on the transmutation of the artist’s inventions in prints and across media in the Cinquecento.

Supervised by Guido Rebecchini

Unlike artists such as Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and Parmigianino (1503-1540), Raphael (1483-1520) never engraved a plate himself. However, he ingeniously established a productive printmaking business charged with the responsibility of transferring his inventions onto printing plates. Raphael’s success in printmaking endured after his untimely death, although less attention has been dedicated to this slightly later material. The importance and influence that this print production had on contemporaries and later generations were enormous as prints themselves became the fertile starting point for new creations.

The intended research aims at reassessing the dynamic trans-medial process that was triggered by the extensive Raphael-related print output produced in the first three-quarters of the sixteenth century. The project intends to focus not solely on the relation existing between original designs and print derivations, but more provocatively also on the artistic autonomy these printed plates achieved. It will investigate the afterlife of Raphael’s inventions, their mobility, transformation, and how they were often charged with new meaning or repurposed to new functions. While doing so, the study will also try to unearth lesser-known artistic personalities who interacted with Raphael’s designs.

Combining an object-based analysis with a theoretical approach, this research will identify illustrative examples that shed light on the multi-layered nature of art production after Raphael. The results will challenge the body of knowledge surrounding the role of reproductive material in connection with its production, reception, and appreciation in a Renaissance context. Issues of material culture will prove vital and notions of technical art history will illuminate the transformative process from a given prototype.

Research interests

  • printmaking
  • drawing
  • dissemination of inventions
  • workshop practice
  • history of collecting
  • technical art history
  • Renaissance

Recent publications

  • Cristo in Croce, attributed to Giulio Clovio (after Michelangelo Buonarroti), pp. 164-166, (cat. no. 3.5), in ‘L’Ultimo Michelangelo. Disegni e Rime attorno alla Pietà Rondanini’, Alessandro Rovetta (ed.), exh. cat., Silvana Editoriale, Milan, 2011
  • Cristo in Croce, Giulio Clovio (?) (after Michelangelo Buonarroti), pp. 167-168, (cat. no. 3.6), in ‘L’Ultimo Michelangelo. Disegni e Rime attorno alla Pietà Rondanini’, Alessandro Rovetta (ed.), exh. cat., Silvana Editoriale, 2011
  • Assistance in editing ‘Michelangelo’s Dream’, Stephanie Buck (ed.), exh. cat., London, The Courtauld Gallery in association with Paul Holberton Pub., 2010

Other academic activity

  • Co-organiser of the upcoming Postgraduate Symposium ‘Placing Prints: New Developments in the Study of Early Modern Print’, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 12-13 February 2016
  • Member of the Courtauld Gallery Print Room Staff (Print Room Assistant)
  • Member of Graphic Arts Group (GAG), promoted by The Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum and the British Museum, London
  • Member of the Renaissance Society of America