Conference #3 with Mauro Mussolin: Michelangelo, clumsiness on paper

Conference #3 of the cycle around the exhibition Scribbling and Doodling
Thursday 14 April at 6.30 pm
Michel Piccoli Room, Villa Medici
Conference inItalian without translation
Duration: 1 hour

Free event, limited number of seats. Advance booking required.

Please consider cancelling your Eventbrite booking if you no longer wish to attend so that we can offer the opportunity for others to attend the event.

This conference will not be recorded or filmed and will thus not be broadcast later.

Alongside the exhibition Scribbling and Doodling. From Leonardo da Vinci to Cy Twombly, presented until the 22nd May 2022, Villa Medici presents a series of six conferences held by several Art History, Philosophy and Anthropology scholars to share their interpretation of the practice of scribbling in relation to their field of research.


For this second conference of the cycle, Villa Medici presents a talk with Tim Ingold, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.

“When the artist’s mind breaks free into the territory of marginality and formal anarchy, speaking a language without code, we are faced with masterly scribbles.

In the margins of sheets of extraordinarily intense paper, downgraded as indecipherable sketches or mediocre assistant exercises, sketched on the first available space, piled one on top of the other like fragments of stories in figures, or conceived as counterpoint to discussions with unknown interlocutors, Michelangelo’s scribbles construct a universe of signs that is an integral part of his feverish activity as a drawer.

Taken as a whole, they show a tension that takes the form of incessant work within things, but which inevitably produces discards, fragments, residues: this is what Michelangelo’s scribbles are made of, from time to time, a remedy to boredom, a desire to digress, a gesture of impatience and, obviously, a sign of perplexity, uncertainty and doubt.

This is the best antidote to the stereotypical image of the divine drawer, to the worn-out idea of the unreachable artist, to his art conceived as grace and gift. Will we ever have the right eyes to fully understand what thoughts lie within those signs?

And yet, apart from the fact that they are often genuinely autographs, they form a connective tissue that helps us to understand, beyond the rhetoric of genius, who Michelangelo really is and what his art has yet to tell us that has not already been abundantly written or said.”


Thursday 21 April 2022
Vincent Debaene (historian of literature and anthropology, Professor at the University of Geneva, CH)
Conference in French

Thursday 5 May 2022 : CONFERENCE CANCELLED
Anne Montfort-Tanguy (curator at the Cabinet d’art graphique du Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR)

Thursday 19 May 2022
Philippe-Alain Michaud (curator in charge of the film collection of the Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR)
Conference in French

➝ Read more about the exhibition


To access the conferences, participants are kindly requested to present their valid Covid Pass and to wear a FFP2 mask during the whole conference.

Copyright images:
Cover image: Michelangelo Buonarroti, schizzi per una mappa celeste con i simboli delle costellazioni (particolare), Ashmolean Museum, Oxford © Mauro Mussolin

Body text images:
Exhibition: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Studi di nudi e pianta architettonica, Casa Buonarotti, Florence © Daniele Molajoli
Portrait of the speaker: © Mauro Mussolin