Drawing Time: The Eighteenth-Century Reinvention of a Medium

A Speaker Series Event with Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Ph.D. William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts, Harvard University on Drawing Time: The Eighteenth-Century Reinvention of a Medium Followed by a verre amical

Harvard Professor Ewa Lajer-Burcharth’s research examines the invention of drawing as a modern medium in eighteenthcentury France. Established since the Renaissance as a basic tool of creative process, drawing acquired in the eighteenth century an altogether different status and meaning: it came to be recognized as an autonomous artistic form; an index of artist’s personal style; an object of aesthetic contemplation and critical reflection; and, ultimately, a commodity. At the same time, the medium assumed new importance and multiple uses in a broader cultural and commercial context. Considering drawing as a material and theoretical entity, Lajer-Burcharth seeks to reconstruct the connections between its artistic, epistemological, cultural, and commercial uses in this period, focusing specifically on its capacity to represent time. Investigating the moment when drawing first became the object of aesthetic attention and historical study, she will discuss the function and meaning of the medium in the discipline of art history.

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth is the William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her research in eighteenth-century art and visual culture and contemporary art focuses on the relation between art and politics; the question of subjectivity, interiority, and gender; and the problem of materiality and the medium. She is the author of Necklines: The Art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror (Yale UP, 1999); Chardin Material (Sternberg Press, 2011); and the forthcoming Painting and Person in Eighteenth-Century Art. She is in the process of co-editing two volumes, one on Interiors and Interiority and another on Painting Beyond Itself. Lajer-Burcharth earned her MA in Art History from the Institute of Art History at Warsaw University, Poland, and her Ph.D. from the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, among others, and was a member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin.

Ewa Lajer-Burcharth