Late-medieval drawing is invariably read in relationship to the workshop, the copy, and its function, as a model, as an under-drawing, as a contract. In turn, works such as the drawings of Hieronymus Bosch or Jan van Eyck’s Saint Barbara panel are often debated about in regards to the ambiguity of their function, and are written about in terms of teleologies towards drawing’s emergence as an autonomous medium free from its previous functional role as model, structural device or vidimus. This panel seeks an interdisciplinary study of late-medieval (ca. 1250-1500) drawing beyond the artist’s workshop. Instead, drawing will be examined in relationship to diplomacy, law and literature. In particular, this panel seeks to bridge the innovative research on infrared reflectography and under-drawing with more theoretical concerns, considering what this hovering, ghost-like presence of drawing in artistic practice can tell scholars and conservators about the theorization of drawing as site of erasure, presence or metaphysical imprint. Drawing played a pivotal and theoretical role in both the literary and the diplomatic culture of the fifteenth-century Franco-Flemish territories, and was frequently used as a metaphor in the poetry of late-medieval poets, such as Jean Froissart, Guillaume de Machaut and Christine de Pisan. It was also central to the culture of the eyewitness and diplomacy, as testified by the frequent comments by travelers and diplomats about the importance of draftsmanship to provide evidence. Moreover, obscure and profane drawings often appear in unexpected places such as notarial documents, notary’s signatures and the dissemination of the watermark. This panel seeks to uncover, discuss and bring to attention the importance of an interdisciplinary study of late-medieval drawing in order to better grapple with the emergence of ‘autonomous drawing’ and its ‘functional’ counterpart.

Proposals should include:

  1. CAA session participation proposal form (available on CAA website)
  2. 250-word abstract
  3. Short CV
  4. Letter of interest

Please submit to Caroline Fowler: caroline.fowler[at]