Venice and Drawing 1500-1800 Theory, Practice and Collecting Catherine Whistler

Publication date:
03 Jan 2017
Yale University Press
380 pages: 279 x 248mm
130 color + 85 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

An impressive overview of drawing in Venice, from the time of Titian and Tintoretto to that of Canaletto and Tiepolo

From the time of Titian and Tintoretto to that of Canaletto and Tiepolo, drawing was an important part of artistic practice and was highly valued in Venice. This exciting new study overturns traditional views on the significance of drawing in Venice, as an art and an act, from the Renaissance to the age of the Grand Tour. Gathering together the separate strands of theory, artistic practice, and collecting, Catherine Whistler highlights the interactions and tensions between a developing literary discourse and the practices of making and collecting graphic art. Her analysis challenges the conventional definition of Venetian art purely in terms of color, demonstrating that 16th-century Venetian artists and writers had a highly developed sense of the role and importance of disegno and drawing in art. The book’s generous illustrations support these striking arguments, as well as conveying the great variety, interest, and beauty of the drawings themselves.


Catherine Whistler is senior curator of European art, Ashmolean Museum, and a fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford.

“Certainly a coffee table book in its illustrations and design, this is also replete with original scholarship, and a definitive point of view which Whistler defends with great clarity, convincingly portraying the role of drawing in Venice from the early 1500s through the 1800s. Scholars, collectors, art historians and anyone who is captivated by fine drawing will want this book in their collection.”–Antiques and the Arts Weekly