This ambitious publishing project reconstructed the world's largest-ever collection of drawings. The first volumes focus on the French school: thousands of drawings that were scattered worldwide can now finally be seen at a single glance.
After the reproduction of the complete auction catalogue illustrated by Saint-Aubin and kept in Boston, a necessary tool through which to track down many of the items, the entire drawing collection which belonged to Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774) is now being reproposed. Without any doubt, to use the words of Frederik Johannes “Frits” Lugt, the 20th-century collector, Mariette was the greatest, if not the ‘prince’ in the field of drawing collections. He began his collection during brief sojourns in Italy and, from 1750 onwards, devoted himself exclusively to this pursuit. During his lifetime he put together almost 9,000 items, carefully cataloguing them according to school and type. When he died, they were scattered as a result of 42 auctions (between November 1775 and January 1776). The incredible task of putting the collection back together was made possible because of the trade-mark (a capital M) which Mariette stamped on every drawing he owned and by the unusual mounting of each drawing on a blue background (‘Mariette blue’) which brought out the best qualities of the drawings. The whole collection will be published in six volumes: the first two are devoted to the French School, three to the Italian school and one to the Dutch, Flemish and German schools. A monumental work of inestimable historical and artistic value.