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Drawing the Cast, The Emulation of Aesthetic Values, Five Études of the Apollo Belvedere by Lisa J. Sawlit, Foreword by Juliette Aristedes, Introduction by Graydon Parrish, 46 pages. 31 plates, 2008. Price: $100 (signed by the artist)

If you would like to purchase a signed edition of this book please contact sawlit (at) comcast (dot) net.


THIS LIMITED EDITION MONOGRAPH ORIGINATED from Sawlit’s Masters of Fine Arts thesis exhibition, Drawing the Cast: A Return to Wisdom, Knowledge, and Beauty, which exhibited at Tufts University in May 2007.

Leland M. Roth wrote in his book, American Architecture: A History, “As the pace of technological and cultural change quickened and intensified, so the need for emotional security through historical associationalism in architecture became more insistent.” Parallels can be drawn to the responses that have taken place in art to the technological and cultural changes being experienced today.

Conceived as an educational site-specific art installation, Sawlit’s touring thesis exhibition demonstrates and tests the relevance of the antique replica within the changing climate of today’s postmodern art world. With a focus on aesthetic emulation, her thesis interlaces art, architecture, and philosophical discourse, providing viewers with primary source links between historical periods, style, and curatorial practices. These building blocks are assembled together in a novel way to create an integrated model of classical antiquity and poststructural modes of display.

Beyond Sawlit’s curatorial oeuvre and textual thesis are her drawings of the legendary antique the Apollo Belvedere. Taken from original casts by Pietro Paulo Caproni (1862–1928), Sawlit’s cast drawings are the first known attempt in history to render this famed sculpture in the round and to contextualize them in a twenty-first–century art academy.

Based on the French Academic method illustrated in Cours de Dessin by Charles Bargue and Jean-Léon Gérôme, Sawlit’s drawings present a remarkable display of the drawing standards used by the old masters. The drawings and their educational presentation demonstrate the studio practices of classical art training that have disappeared from nearly every one of today’s educational art institutions. Sawlit points back in time to the Boston Museum School’s forgotten legacy as an école des beaux-arts and retraces its lost historical lineage to Raphael and Leonardo.

Notably Cours de Dessin was published in its first unabridged edition in 2003 by Gerald Ackerman and co-authored by Sawlit’s thesis advisor Graydon Parrish, who writes on the artist’s behalf in this publication.

Of this exhibition, Amy Ingrid Schlegel, Ph.D., Director of Galleries and Collections at Tufts University, wrote: “[...Sawlit’s] work is probably the strongest conceptually, art historically, and certainly in terms of draftsmanship that I’ve seen from the MFA candidates in the three-plus years I have been director here.”

Sawlit’s exhibition has since grown in scope. The tour has become widely admired as a teaching exhibition for artists, curators, and the public at large.

PUBLISHED FOR THE OCCASION OF THE EXHIBITION L’Académie Française: A Lineage from Leonardo, Drawings and Paintings in Grisaille by Lisa J. Sawlit, at The French Library Alliance Française, Boston, Massachusetts, February 2–28, 2008


Copyright 2010 by Lisa Sawlit. All rights reserved