Genevieve Verdigel

PhD Student

Benedetto and Bartolomeo Montagna and the Role of the Graphic Arts in Vicenza c. 1480–1520

Supervisors - David Freedberg / Michelle O’Malley 

Research interests

Early Italian Engravings and Woodcuts | Italian Renaissance Drawings
Book Publishing |Early Print Production and Culture Interactions in a Renaissance Workshop
Patronage and Collecting | Crosscurrents between Italy and Northern Europe | Vicenza and the Veneto

As the most celebrated Vicentine painter, Bartolomeo Montagna’s (c.1450–1523) significant contribution to the cultural identity of Vicenza has hardly gone unnoticed. In recent years a spate of studies on the artist and his paintings have invited the reappraisal of his reputation in the Veneto. Benedetto Montagna (c.1480–1558), Bartolomeo’s second born son, has another claim to fame. Considered to be the first engraver in Vicenza, he is a key figure in the history of early Italian engraving. What this thesis will contribute to existing scholarship on the Vicentine family, is a focused discourse on Benedetto and Bartolomeo’s prints and drawings. 

Themes of collaboration and artistic exchange are central to this study. Foremost are the interactions that took place between designer and printmaker – more specifically between father and son – and the circulation of prints and drawings within a Renaissance workshop. Bartolomeo’s drawing technique and choice of media will be closely studied in order to analyse his artistic training, sources of reference and working methods. Similarly, the internal chronology of Benedetto’s engravings will be reconstructed through scrutiny of the material evidence and the development of his engraving technique. This close visual analysis will offer a new dimension to documented and suggested crosscurrents with artists including Giovanni Bellini, Andrea Mantegna, Albrecht Dürer and Giulio Campagnola in order re-appraise how the family's interactions with their contemporaries were played out on paper.

Equally pertinent is the cultural milieu within which, and for which, the prints and drawings were produced. Consumer culture and the development of the Vicentine book publishing industry will inform the specifics of Benedetto’s forays into the business of printmaking. In turn, Benedetto’s religious engravings will be considered in relation to the paintings on display across Vicenza to question the extent to which collaboration went hand in hand with promotion of both the family workshop and the city itself. Building on this ‘Vicenza-centric’ emphasis, patronal relations between the Montagna and patrician families will contextualise so-termed ‘presentation drawings’ and iconographically enigmatic engravings within a Vicentine culture of erudite humanism.

Ultimately, this thesis seeks to offer a reconsideration of the role that prints and drawings played in negotiating artistic status and consumer demand in Renaissance Vicenza.


Genevieve Verdigel completed her BA (2014) and MA (2015) at The Courtauld Institute where she specialised in mid-fourteenth to mid-sixteenth century Italian art. She was subsequently an Editorial Intern at Print Quarterly and a Michael Bromberg Fellow at the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings.

She is the co-convener (with Lydia Goodson) of New Dialogues in Art History, a seminar group based at The Warburg Institute that brings together postgraduate art historians to present and discuss their ongoing research. 


London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP).

Conference and seminar presentations

‘The Impact of Northern Publishers and Prints on the cultural identity of Renaissance Vicenza’, Society for Renaissance Studies Biennial Conference, Sheffield, 3–6 July 2018.

‘Between Bellini and Mantegna: Bartolomeo Montagna as a draughtsman and the use of drawings in his workshop’, Work in Progress Seminar, The Warburg Institute, 16 May 2018.

‘Saint Jerome in Multiple: Interactions between the Reproductive Media of Prints and Plaquettes in the Veneto circa 1500’, ‘Seventh Early Modern Symposium: Recasting Reproduction (1500–1800)’, The Courtauld Institute, London, 18 November 2017.

‘Different hands, multiple states and later dates. One copperplate first engraved by Benedetto Montagna’, ‘Blocks, Plates, Stones: Matrices /Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections’, Poster session,  The Courtauld Institute, London, 21 September 2017.


‘Campbell Dodgson’s boxfile’, Print Quarterly (forthcoming, July 2018).

‘Review: Marcantonio Raimondi and Raphael’, Art in Print, vii, no. 1 (January–February 2017), pp. 32–33.

‘Review: Safiuddin Ahmed: Great Masters of Bangladesh’, Print Quarterly, xxxiii, no. 2 (April 2016), pp. 78–80.

Catalogue entries

Parmigianino’s two drawings for the Conversion of Saul, ‘Renaissance Modern’ exhibition, The Courtauld Gallery, 22 April– 7 June 2015

‘Law and order: codifying the multiple editions of Marco Mantova Benavides, Illustrium Iureconsultorum’ (in progress)

Conference organisation 

‘Singular Acts: The Role of the Individual in the Transformation of Collective Culture’, Warburg Institute Postgraduate Symposium, London, 16 November 2018. Co-convener and Chair of panel on ‘Challenging Established Philosophies’.

Other activities 

Co-founder of New Dialogues in Art History, seminar group for postgraduate art historians based at the Warburg Institute.