Public Program

Menil Drawing Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellow Lecture: Saskia Verlaan

Menil Drawing Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellow Lecture: Saskia Verlaan

Cy Twombly/Leonardo da Vinci: Bodies of Drawing

In the winters of 1968 and 1971, Cy Twombly (1928–2011) created a series of works on paper incorporating reproductions of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. While Twombly regularly alluded to famous works of art, direct visual citations of this kind rarely feature in his output. Although occasionally mentioned in broader discussions on the artist, the Leonardo series has never received sustained scholarly attention.

This lecture by Saskia Verlaan, Menil Drawing Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellow, explores Twombly’s critical engagement with the work of Leonardo da Vinci both in terms of his practice of drawing and his identity as an American artist living in Italy.

About the speaker:

Saskia Verlaan is a PhD candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Under the advisement of Dr. Emily Braun, she is writing a dissertation examining drawing by a range of artists in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s. Countering a historiography that has often privileged the sculpture, installation, and performance works central to Arte Povera, her dissertation unearths and asserts drawing as a vital sphere of activity during this period. Verlaan gained her MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is currently on leave from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, where she has managed the collection for a decade. She has also held staff positions at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Verlaan is the 2020–2021 Menil Drawing Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellow. Learn more about the Menil Drawing Institute’s Scholars Program here.