A remarkable French Baroque artist helps establish a genre
“having then published the forty-seven pieces entitled capricci di varie figure – as if he wanted to show that he was unhappy with the works he had made until that point – he [Callot] wrote, in a dedicatory letter to Don Lorenzo for that same series, that they were practically the first results of his labors.”1 -Filippo Baldinucci
“the dedicatory inscription … indicates only that they [the Caprices] are, according to Callot’s own judgment, the best works he had produced until that point; because, without mentioning his previous works, he says that they are the first of his labors, which no doubt he believed merited attention.” 2 -Pierre-Jean Mariette
In 1617, Jacques Callot became the first artist to incorporate the term capriccio into a frontispiece inscription for a series of etchings (fig. 1). The Capricci di Varie Figure signaled a turning point in Callot’s career, immediately assuming significance as a highly self-conscious statement about style and invention. This article considers the innovative technical and visual qualities of Callot’s series, and its role in establishing connections among capriccio, disegno, and invenzione. I will argue that through the series’ unique format and sketch-like style, Callot encouraged viewers and artists to experience drawing as part of his inventive process. I will also show that his unusual compilation of so many varying images anticipated the imaginative arrangement of etchings in later seventeenth and eighteenth-century print albums and published volumes.
When he published the Capricci di Varie Figure in 1617, Jacques Callot had already been working for Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici for three years 3. Perhaps in the hope of securing approval from the next Florentine ruler, or simply appealing to a younger patron for a more experimental type of work, Callot dedicated his Capricci to the younger brother of Cosimo, Don Lorenzo de’ Medici, who was only 17. Boldly announcing the imaginative nature of his inventions, the artist framed the title of his series inside a cartouche decorated with two satyrs and a grotesque mask, and further included an ironic invocation requesting that the ruler accept his gift of “the first flowers I have picked from the field of my barren imagination.” 4
In 48 rectangular scenes measuring approximately 5 x 8 centimeters, Callot presented landscapes and cityscapes, as well as a variety of figural types, ranging from peasants and aristocratic figures, to beggars, bandits and grotesque dancers. With no suggestion of a unifying theme, the prints served primarily as a stage for the artist’s imagination and invention of novel printmaking techniques, including the use of a round-tipped etching tool known as an échoppe and a hard etching ground composed of mastic and linseed oil traditionally used by lutemakers. 5
The échoppe created precise, swelling lines that rivaled the burin’s accuracy while granting a freer movement of the hand and the hard ground allowed for repeated immersions of the metal plate into an acid bath without the risk of chipping or foul biting. Attaining stark contrasts between light and shadow through the varied use of parallel hatching lines, Callot was able to generate the illusion of planes receding into the furthest distance. He apparently realized the significance of his series’ novel technique, as he added the words “in aqua Forte” to the second state of the frontispiece which he included in the libretto of Capricci, elegantly bound in white parchment, for Don Lorenzo. 6
The series proved an enormous success: Callot was awarded a fee equal to fifteen times his allotted monthly stipend and by 1621, there were already imitations of the etchings circulating in Paris and Nuremberg, including the Capricci of Edouard Eckman and the Cours de dessin pour la jeunesse of Hans Troeschel.7 Upon returning to his native town of Nancy in 1622, Callot etched a second and nearly identical, version of the Capricci using a fresh set of plates that produced a greater number of high quality impressions.8 A second state of this series was later modified and published by the early eighteenth-century dealer Jacques Fagnani, who numbered the plates 1-48.9
Several 17th-century writers recognized Callot as a pioneer of novel print- making techniques, including Abraham Bosse, who published a detailed recipe for the artist’s “Vernice Grosso da Lignaioli” in the Traicté des manieres de graver of 1645.10 In the Entretiens sur les vies of 1685, Andre Félibien devoted several paragraphs to the advantages of Callot’s hard etching ground, including the longer shelf-life of the copper plates, their ability to withstand a greater amount of pressure from the artist’s hand and their sharper depiction of details.11
Although Filippo Baldinucci dedicated few words to the details of Callot’s etching process in his Cominciamento e progresso dell’intagliare in rame of 1686, he was keen on noticing the sketch-like style of the Capricci that rendered them valuable as a drawing guide. Specifically, he referred to thirteen prints of the series, in which a minimal outline is replicated and enhanced with parallel hatching marks and short strokes to shade the figures and render them three-dimensional:
“These sheets, with regard to the single figures, contain a sketch and an outline intended as a finished work that can serve to teach beginners how to draw well with a pen.” 12
Like Baldinucci, Charles Perrault also noted the pairs of figures represented in the Capricci, describing them in Les hommes illustres of 1696 as a means of helping students distinguish between the contour and modeling lines used to draw a figure.13 Callot’s sequential use of lines would have recalled contemporary drawing books like that of Odoardo Fialetti, but rather than representing one particular profile or feature, they emphasized the technique of modeling an entire figure through the use of fluid highlighting marks.14 Later 17th-century copies after the Capricci not only referred to the series as a drawing book, but as a model for learning a rapid, freehand style of penmanship.15
Callot’s incorporation of so many imaginative characters into one libretto and his use of novel etching techniques were highlighted by his choice of the title “Capricci.”16 In his iconographic manual of 1593, the Iconologia overo descrittione dell’imagini universali, Cesare Ripa singled out the trait of originality as an essential characteristic of the capriccio, explaining that, capricci are “ideas, that in paintings, music, or other areas, reveal themselves to be distant from the ordinary manner”. 17 The Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca of 1612, published five years before Callot’s series of etchings, also clearly revealed the creative side of the capriccio, equating it with an artist’s “invention” and “fantasy.” 18
Callot’s own possession of an illustrated edition of Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia (Siena: Matteo Florini, 1613)–onto which he sketched a whimsical figure from his early style of ca. 1615 and added his signature–reveals his awareness of the capriccio’s implications as an original invention.19 Furthermore, Callot’s series of Capricci and their insistence upon drawing foreshadowed Baldinucci’s definition of a capriccio as an invention inherently linked to disegno, in its most sketch-like form (“those first capricious thoughts of a painter, that reveal his conceit through a single mark of the pen”).20 Significantly, Callot was able to retain an effect of spontaneity in his series of Capricci by creating images such as the paired figures, which Baldinucci specifically referred to as “a sketch made as a finished work”. 21
Callot in fact became known for his flair for reduction in the Capricci, in which miniscule marks beckon the viewer to lean closer in order to appreciate figures and objects composed of only two lines. Several cityscapes, including a view of the Piazza della Signoria (see page 16), present the viewer with numerous architectural and sculptural details to identify, including Michelangelo’s David, the Fountain of Neptune and the Loggia dei Lanzi.
In a 1646 collection of poems written about an imaginary museum, Georges de Scudéry expressed the awe that Callot’s multilayered, small-scale compositions inspired in his contemporaries. Crediting the artist with a supernatural skill of dissecting forms, the poet compared his microscopic figures to atoms:
“Which animated atoms,
Appear to have such sensibility?
And which hand created,
These nearly invisible bodies?
One can barely see them,
And yet everything seems to move…
You must have used a burin of gold,
To express your fantasy:
It was on diamonds,
That your charming caprices,
Achieved their glory….” 22
Scudéry’s amazement was echoed by Perrault who pointed out that Callot was as talented at “depicting small-scale figures… and their actions, intentions and…characters with only one or two marks,” as he was at “including an infinity of things within a small space.”23 Such paradoxical combinations of the near and far and the infinite and minute, enhanced the capricious quality of the artist’s prints while reflecting his understanding of two very different modes of seeing.24 Callot’s awareness of the viewer is in fact demonstrated through the intermediary gesturing figure who turns his back to the beholder: a motif found in several of the Capricci (fig. 2), where numerous planes of standing viewers simultaneously invite and deny the viewer’s projection, subsequently encouraging a closer consideration of the artist’s style.25
The intimate viewing experience determined by the miniature size of the Capricci is further strengthened by the unusual framework for the collection. Following Callot’s initial presentation of the series as a libretto for Don Lorenzo, the Florence and Nancy series appear to have been published as volumes throughout the artist’s career. 26 Félibien describes the Capricci as a livre and the series is listed as a volume in both the 1635 inventory of Callot’s belongings and the 1719 inventory of Guercino’s collection.27
Unlike other contemporary libretti, however, the Capricci departed from the structure of a narrative or an overarching theme that traditionally defined a serial group of images.28 The originality of the series can be better understood by considering the small books (“libri di quarto foglio diversi”) listed for sale in the 1614 Indice by the Roman dealers Andrea and Michelangelo Vaccari. Among the libri of secular subjects are a volume of ten grotesques by Antonio Tempesta, his libro of 47 animals, four landscapes by Titian and Luca Ciamberlano’s drawing book after Agostino Carracci’s designs.30
Following the format of these libretti, Callot could have created several different series out of his Capricci, which is precisely what he did when he later etched the Balli di Sfessania, Gobbi, Gypsies and Beggars in his hometown of Nancy.31 The artist’s original compilation of so many varying subjects into one book–an encyclopedic museum of his style and imagination–established a precedent for the collections of whimsical images that emerged soon afterward in print albums as well as published volumes.
For example, of the eight albums of prints which have thus far been identified from Cassiano dal Pozzo’s collection of graphic works, six include traditional subjects such as processions and architectural views, while two (begun ca. 1619) feature a highly unusual collection of genre scenes and curiosities, including prints after Arcimboldo’s composite heads, market scenes by Jan van de Velde and significantly, Callot’s Three Comedians.32 In contrast, most earlier Italian print anthologies – such as Scipione Gonzaga’s (late 16th century) and Giulio Mancini’s (early 17th century) – appear to have had a narrower focus on more traditional subject matters. 33
Once the capriccio had become a widely established invention in the late 17th century, collectors pasted the Capricci of different artists into one volume: one example is the Pembroke Album of ca. 1700 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which included the Capricci of Callot, Stefano della Bella and Salvator Rosa.34 By the middle of the 17th century, print dealers were grouping several whimsical series into one binding. Both Nicolas Langlois and Pierre Mariette published volumes containing different series by Callot’s follower, Stefano della Bella and Langlois also published libretti featuring a combination of series by Callot.35
Although Don Lorenzo’s libretto of Capricci was disassembled in the early 20th century, the original organization of the images can be reconstructed to show that Callot’s presentation was intentionally erratic in its interrupted arrangement of the different sub-groups of images; one example is a scene of bandits that was placed in the middle of the paired sketch-like figures.36 Jumping from one subject to another, the group of etchings mimicked the function of a sketch-book, while giving life to Francesco Alunno’s description of the capriccio as a goat’s contagious and impulsive leap–a metaphor reinforced by the two diabolic satyrs on the frontispiece, as well as the goats featured in the backdrops of other etchings.37 The artist’s decision not to assign a numerical order to either the Florence or Nancy versions of the series ultimately enhanced the whimsical quality of his images by granting later publishers and viewers an interpretive role in organizing the prints into libretti and albums according to their own fancy.38
A highly self-conscious statement about invention, Callot’s series of Capricci conceptualized an artist’s inventive potential and process in visual terms. As the scenes in the sequences are unrelated, the viewer is challenged to examine each representation individually, focusing on its experimental style and imaginative cast of characters rather than its function in a linear progression.
Callot’s series of Capricci showcased the artist’s ability to invent a variety of scenes and figural types through novel printmaking techniques. The series’ title specifically alluded to the artist’s fantasy and to the images’ significance as original inventions. Through the sketch-like depiction of several etchings, Callot underlined the importance of drawing, recreating his artistic process for the viewer and offering him a drawing guide. These etchings also highlighted the connection between capriccio and disegno in its most spontaneous form. By arranging the prints without the structure of a linear narrative, Callot created a collection of images that resembled a sketch book, encouraging collectors to examine each scene individually and admire his rich imagination and innovative technical experiments.
I would like to thank the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a fellowship that enabled me to examine Callot’s Capricci. I am also grateful to David Freedberg and David Rosand for encouraging my research on Callot.
1 “avendo egli [Callot] dipoi pubblicati i quarantasette pezzi intitolati capricci di varie figure, quasi che si volesse mostrare malcontento dell’opere fatte fino a quel tempo, nella lettera di dedicazione de’medesimi al serenizzimo principe don Lorenzo di Toscana disse di esser quasi le primizie delle sue fatiche.” F. Baldinucci, Notizie dei professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua, (1681-1728; Florence, 1974, IV: 377.)
2 l’épistre dédicatoire … enseigne seulement que [les Caprices] sont là, au jugement de Callot mesme, ce qu’il avoit fait de meilleur jusques alors; car, sans y faire mention de ses ouvrages antérieurs, il y dit que ce sont là les prémices de ses travaux, sans doutte de ce qu’il croyoit mériter attention. P. J. Mariette, Abecedario de P.J. Mariette, edited by Ph. de Chennevières et. al., 1853-1854; Paris, 1966, I: 273-274.
3 The earliest records of payment for Callot in the Medici Archives date to 18 October, 1614; see E. Bruwaert, “Jacques Callot à Florence,” La Revue de Paris, June 15, 1914, 832. On p. 838 Bruwaert deduced the date of the Capricci from records of Callot’s supply orders, as well as a received payment.
4 “i primi fiori che io ho colti nel campo del mio sterile ingegno”.
5 See D. Ternois, L’Art de Jacques Callot, Paris, 1962, esp. 94-107; D. Russell, Jacques Cal ot: Prints and Related Drawings, Washington, D.C., 1975, xx-xi; and G. Filippetto, “Itinerario di Callot incisore al ‘taglio dolce,’” in D. Ternois et al., Le incisioni di Jacques Callot nelle collezioni italiane, Milan, 1992, 51-68.
6 For the second state of the frontispiece, see Jacques Callot, 1592-1635, edited by J. Schultz, Providence, R. I., 1970, cat. no. 9a. For Don Lorenzo’s libretto, preserved in the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe degli Uffizi (inv. 8609-8657), see Bruwaert, op. cit., 838.
7 Callot’s monthly stipend is recorded on October 2, 1615, as 8 écus, and he received 120 for the Capricci; see Bruwaert, op.cit., 834- 35, and 838. For the copies of the Capricci by Eckman and Troeschel, see E. Meaume, Recherches sur la vie et les ouvrages de Jacques Callot, Paris, 1860, II: 643-44; D. Ternois, Jacques Callot, catalogue complet de son oeuvre dessiné, Paris, 1962, 218; and J. Lieure, Jacques Callot: Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre gravé 1924-27; San Francisco, 1989 (hereafter L.), 86.
8 The Nancy collection repeated the same fifty etchings as the Florentine series, reversing only two of the plates (L.225 and 233), and replacing the city of “Fior.” with “Nancy” on the frontispiece; see Meaume, op. cit., I: 364-387, nos. 768-867; and Ternois, L’Art de Jacques Callot, 233-40. For a further discussion of the publication of Callot’s etchings, see Antony Griffiths and Hugo Chapman, “Israel Henriet, the Chatsworth Album, and the Publication of the Work of Jacques Callot,” Print Quarterly, XXX, no. 3, pp. 273-92.
9 See Meaume, op. cit., I: 11-12, and 367; and Marot, Jacques Callot, 55-56.Fagnani’s second state was numbered on all of the plates except the dedication and frontispiece. Meaume followed Fagnani’s order for his cat. nos. 768- 867, but Lieure made slight adjustments to his arrangement, and included a different set of numbers for the Nancy series (L.214-63 and 428-77).
10 A. Bosse, Traicté des manieres de graver en taille douce…, 1645; Paris, 1979, 9.
11 A. Félibien, Entretiens sur les vies et sur les ouvrages…,1686; edited by A. Blunt, Farnborough, Hants, 1967, VII: 373-74.
12 “Contengono queste carte, rispetto alle sole figure, perlopiù lo schizzo e lo imbratto, fatto cioè a fine, che servir possano d’amaestramento a’ principianti del modo di studiare e ben disegnare con penna.”See Baldinucci, op. cit., IV: 377.
13 C. Perrault, Les hommes illustres…, 1696; edited by D.J. Culpin, Tübingen, 237. Félibien, op. cit., VII: 370, also spoke of the Capricci as a learning guide.Bruwaert, op. cit., 838; and Russell, op. cit., 19, in fact argued that the Capricci were designed as a drawing book for Lorenzo de’ Medici.
14 See D. Rosand, The Crisis of the Venetian Renaissance Tradition, Milan, 1970; and C. Amornpichetkul, “Seventeenth-Century Italian Drawing Books: Their Origin and Development” in Children of Mercury: The Education of Artists in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, edited by C. Amornpichetkul, Providence, R.I., 1984, 109-18.
15 The Livre de Paysages de Callot… published by Nicolas Langlois ca. 1692, upholds the value of the Caprices as a drawing guide: “pour apprendre a dessiner à la plume avec liberté, et en peu de temps.” See Ternois, L’Art de Jacques Callot, 89.
16 On the development of the capriccio in the visual arts, see especially E. Mai and J. Rees, Kunstform Capriccio: Von der Groteske zur Spieltheorie der Moderne; Cologne, 1998; R. Kanz, Die Kunst des Capriccio: Kreativer Eigensinn in Renaissance und Barock, Munich, 2002; and V. White, Serio Ludere: Baroque Invenzione and the Development of the Capriccio, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ph.D. diss. Columbia University, New York, 2009.
17 C. Ripa, Iconologia overo descrittione di diverse imagini …1593; Rome, 1603, 48: “idee, che in pitture, ò in musica, ò in altro modo, si manifestano lontane dal modo ordinario”.
18 Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca, Venice, 1612, 156: “E capriccio val pensiero, fantasia, ghiribizzo, invenzione.”
19 Callot’s volume of the Iconologia was recorded in his inventory and is now preserved in the Bibliothèque municipale of Nancy, Reserve 10050. See Marot, op. cit., 82; and P. Choné, “Jacques Callot, lecteur de l’ Iconologia de Ripa,” Le Pays Lorrain, 1981, 43-48.
20 Baldinucci, Notizie, VI: 469: “primi pensieri che fa il pittore di capriccio; come che in essi egli dia essere apparente al suo concetto con un solo tirar di penna…”.For a discussion of the connections drawn between capricci and rapid sketches referred to as schizzi or bozzi, see White, op. cit, 31-36.
21 Baldinucci, Notizie, IV: 377, referring to the pairs of figures in the Capricci: “lo schizzo… fatto cioè a fine.”
22 Quels Atomes animez,/Paroissent estres sensibles?/Et quelle main a formez,/ Ces corps Presque invisibles?/ A peine les peut-on voir,/ Et tous semblent se mouvoir…/Tu devois d’un burin d’or,/ Exprimer ta fantaisie:/ C’estoit sur des diamants,/ Que tes caprices charmants,/ Devoient faire leur gloire….G. de Scudéry, Le cabinet de Monsieur de Scudéry, edited by C. Biet et. al., 1646; Paris, 1991, 158-60.
23 Perrault, op. cit, 238: “Callot a été…particulièrement à faire les figures en petit, et à savoir faire trouver dans deux ou trois traits de burin, l’action, la démarche, l’intention, et même jusqu’à l’humeur et au caractère particulier de chaque figure.Il avait encore un adresse singulière à ramasser en peu de place une infinité de choses….”
24 As Levertin first noted, the miniature microscosms suggest a knowledge of Galileo’s early version of the telescope and its further use–when turned upside down–as a microscopic lens. See O. Levertin, Jacques Callot: Vision du microcosme, Paris, 1935, 135-45.
25 Callot plays with the tradition of the interlocutor described by Alberti; see M. Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy… Oxford, 1972, 71-77, who characterizes Alberti’s interlocutor as a “choric figure.”
26 As no publisher’s name appears on either the Florence Capricci or the first state of the Nancy series, one can assume that Callot published both of them himself. In contrast, the second state of the Nancy series bears the name of Israel Silvestre.
27 See Félibien, op. cit., VII: 370.The inventory of Callot’s belongings (recorded from April 21-May 7, 1635) lists thirty-eight copies of the series as “Trente-huict livres de Caprices”; see Marot, op. cit., 80. The inventory of Guercino’s collection Section Y, sheet 4, no. 41 lists a “Librettino di Carte N. 36. Miscelaneo di Capricij e varie altre Cartine tutte del Callot”; see E. Negro and N. Roio, L’Eredità del Guercino…, Modena, 2008, 117, no. 41.
28 For a discussion of some of the earliest appearances of genre subjects in prints, including topographical views, depictions of animals, and allegorical subjects like “L’Arboro della Pazzia,” see E. Borea, “Stampa figurativa e pubblica dalle origini all’affermazione nel Cinquecento”, Storia dell’arte Italiana, 1979, 337-43; and M. Bury, “The Taste for Prints in Italy,” Print Quarterly, 1985, 12-26.
29 See F. Ehrle, Roma prima di Sisto V…, Rome, 1908, 60-66.The subjects listed in the index are overwhelmingly religious.For a further discussion of the contemporary print market, see A. Di Mauro and A. G. Capponi, Bibliografia delle stempe popolari…Florence, 1981; P. Bellini, “Printmakers and Dealers in Italy during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, Print Collector, 1975, 17-43; and Ternois et al., Le incisioni di Jacques Callot, 29-50.
30 Listed under nos. 445, 460, 495, and 475, respectively; see Ehrle, op. cit., 60-66.
31 See L. 379-402 for the Balli di Sfessania; L.374-77 for the Gypsies; L. 479-503 for the Beggars; and L. 279 and 407-26 for the Gobbi.
32 See A. Griffiths, “The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo”, Print Quarterly, 1989, 5-10, who notes on p. 10 that volume V is “by far the most unusual assemblage of prints that I have ever seen, and stands so far outside the common range of print collectors both in the seventeenth century and today.”
33 On Gonzaga’s collection, see M. Bury, op. cit., 12-26; and on Mancini, see M. Bury, “Giulio Mancini and the Organization of a Print Collection in Early-Seventeenth-century Italy”, in G. Warwick, The Arts of Collecting: Padre Sebastiano Resta and the Market for Drawings in Early Modern Europe, New York and Cambridge, 2000, 79-84.
34 The original folio volume (17.50.17) was disassembled, but is described in the Catalogue of Superb Prints, Drawings, Pictures and Armour from the Historical Collections at Wilton House, Salisbury…, London, 1917, 21, cat. no. 305.In the Metropolitan’s collection, Rosa’s Figurine are 17.50.17-92-153; Della Bella’s Diversi Capricci are 17.50.17-204-227; and Callot’s Capricci di Varie Figure (actually copies) are 17.50.17-465-511.
35 The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several examples of seventeenth-century libretti of Della Bella’s etchings, including a quarto, half-morocco volume of 81 plates (Pierre Mariette I, ca. 1642), inv. no. 23.22.1, which features the Diversi Capricci, Diversi Animali, and Conduites de Troupes among it series; and a book entitled Ornaments (Langlois, 1646), inv. no. 37.11.1, which includes different decorative etchings by the artist and opens with the Raccolta di Capricci et nove inventioni. For Langlois’ Livre de Paysages de Callot (1692) which contained the Capricci and Varie Figure, see Ternois, L’Art de Jacques Callot, 89.
36 The libretto was most likely disassembled for the exhibition by P. Ferri et. al., Mostra dei disegni e incisioni di Jacopo Callot, di Stefano della Bella, e della loro scuola… Bergamo, 1914. At this time, the pen and ink numbers would have also been added to the top right corner of the sheets. Therefore, one can conclude that the scene of the bandits (L. 221, Uffizi no. 8615, pen no. 7), was originally placed between two plates of paired figures (L. 235, Uffizi no. 8614, pen no. 6; and L. 238, Uffizi no. 8616, pen no. 8).
37 “un’appetito subito e senza rasone…che tenga alle Capre, che se una salta tutte saltano”.See F. Alunno, Le richezze della lingua volgare, 1543; Venice, 1557, 52a.
38 Thus, the numerical order added by Fagnani and Silvestre to the second state of the Nancy series differed from the arrangement of the prints by Callot in the libretto for Lorenzo, as well as that added in pen and ink by the original owner of the Florence series now in the Museo d’Arte in Padua; see F. Pellegrini, Capricci, gobbi, amore, guerra, e bellezza: Incisioni di Jacques Callot dalle raccolte del Museo d’Arte di Padova, Padua, 2003, nos. 40 and 41
About the Author
Veronica Maria White is currently a Core Lecturer at Columbia University as well as a Lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She received her B.A. from Princeton University and her Ph.D from Columbia University, where her dissertation, “Serio Ludere: Baroque Invenzione and the Development of the Capriccio,” focused on the visual and critical components of 17th-century Italian drawings and prints known as capricci. Her academic awards include the Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Columbia University Starr Fellowship, the Swann Foundation Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and the Princeton Pettoranello Foundation Research Grant. She has also taught at Rutgers University and Vassar College, and has worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, where she assisted with the exhibition of “The Timeless Eye: Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection” in 1999. She has contributed to several exhibition catalogues, including Playing with Fire: Neoclassical Terracotta Models (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003), and Peter Paul Rubens: The Drawings (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004). Her lectures and publications have included papers on Gianlorenzo Bernini, Guercino, Rubens and Stefano della Bella. She is currently working on a book on the capriccio, as well as an article focusing on Guercino’s role as a collector of drawings and prints.