NGA Opens Access to Images under Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

June 17 2021

Image of NGA Opens Access to Images under Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

Picture: NGA

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Some brilliant news to report. The Digital Projects Coordinator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC has shared news on Twitter that the gallery's public domain artworks are now Open Access under Creative Commons Zero (CC0).

According to the gallery's website:

With the launch of NGA Images, the National Gallery of Art implemented an open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain. Images of these works are available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial, under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). Users do not need to contact the National Gallery for authorization to use these images. 

The Origins of the Vatican Museum

June 17 2021

Video: Vatican News

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The latest video from the Vatican's new YouTube Channel examines the early history of the Vatican Museums.

The video is beautifully illustrated, but, I personally still find the audio somewhat jarring.

Could Paris Replace London as Europe's Art Capital (?)

June 17 2021

Image of Could Paris Replace London as Europe's Art Capital (?)

Picture: artnews.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Artnews.com have published an interesting piece by Melanie Gerlis on the potential for Paris to challenge London as Europe's future art capital. Various factors are put forward, including ongoing uncertainty regarding the new laws governing imports and exports from the UK. We'll have to wait and see whether the "really intense" bureaucracy of the French system becomes more appealing for buyers and sellers in the upcoming years.

Could Potential Caravaggio (?) have Spanish Royal Provenance?

June 16 2021

Image of Could Potential Caravaggio (?) have Spanish Royal Provenance?

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The latest developments regarding the provenance of the potential Caravaggio have been discussed in the press. Sol G. Moreno and Héctor San José of the ARS Magazine have traced the painting from the collection of Evaristo Pérez de Castro (d.1849) to an identically sized Ecce homo de estilo de Carbajio ("Ecce Homo in caravaggio style") described in the Spanish Royal Inventory of the Casa de Campo hunting lodge owned by King Charles II (1661-1700). It then reappears in an inventory of the same building drawn up after the death of Kind Charles III (1716–1788). Attempts are now being made to link this painting to the one which ended up in the Perez de Castro collection.

Spanish Reliefs Stolen 32 Years Ago Returned

June 16 2021

Image of Spanish Reliefs Stolen 32 Years Ago Returned

Picture: heraldo.es

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Spain that a set of sixteenth-century reliefs that were stolen from the church of Santa María la Mayor, Olvés, have been returned to the region. The reliefs were taken in 1989 and were recently rediscovered when someone brought them in to an auction house for a valuation. They will now be displayed in a secure case within a museum connected to a local church.

Sleeper Alert!

June 16 2021

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: cambiaste.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter (via @auctionradar) that the above Penitent Magdalene catalogued as 'Neapolitan School, 17th Century' sold for €380,000 over its €30k - €40k estimate earlier today at the auction house Cambi Auction House in Italy.

120 Works of Art Missing from Rai TV in Italy

June 16 2021

Image of 120 Works of Art Missing from Rai TV in Italy

Picture: The Telegraph

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a curious story that broke last week.

The Italian authorities are investigating the disappearance of 120 works of art from the headquarters of the Italian television company Rai.

Works that have been listed as missing include bronze and gold statues by the sculptor Francesco Messina, an etching that Monet made of Paysage de Verneuil, a Modigliani etching of Petit Fils and an Alfred Sisley etching of Hampton Court. Other paintings listed include Domenica della Buona Gente by Guttuso, Vita nei Campi by Giorgio De Chirico, Il Colosseo by Giovanni Stradone and Porto di Genova by Francesco Menzio.

It is believed that rogue employees are to blame, with some thefts dated as far back to the 1970s.

The journalist Giuseppe Scarpa, who has been investigating the missing works, is quoted as saying:

These were works of great value that were just hanging on the walls of the corridors or rooms in Rai’s buildings, without any alarm system, and so anyone could just walk in and take them.

"...this evil proceeds from thy proud hart then take her: Devill."

June 16 2021

Image of "...this evil proceeds from thy proud hart then take her: Devill."

Picture: Trevanion Auctioneers

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Shropshire based auction house Trevanion are leading their upcoming June sale with what must be one of the most curious mid-seventeenth-century British paintings to come onto the market in recent years.

Created in c.1650, when the country was in the midst of what might be described as a puritanical dictatorship, this moralising painting shows two women whose faces are decorated with black patches in the form of kabbalistic symbols. The extended catalogue note provided explains more about the various potential meanings.

Most curiously of all, the canvas bears the inscription 'I black with white bespott y white with blacke this evil proceeds from thy proud hart then take her: Devill'. 

With 90 'watchers' and bids about to break through its top estimate of £4,000, this lot will be one to watch.

Dürer Attribution Debate Reopens in Germany

June 16 2021

Image of Dürer Attribution Debate Reopens in Germany

Picture: artnews.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Artnews.com have published an article on the reopening of a debate surrounding the authorship of the outer panels of an altarpiece in the Johanneskirche church in Crailsheim, Germany. Although the interior has long been considered to have emanated from the workshop of Michael Wolgemut in 1490, experts from the Bavarian National Museum in Munich are suggesting that a revaluation of the exterior panels should be undertaken. In particular, upcoming research will investigate whether these might be the work of Albrecht Dürer, an attribution which has been debated amongst scholars since 1928.

Couple Donate 18th Century Painting to Jersey Heritage

June 16 2021

Image of Couple Donate 18th Century Painting to Jersey Heritage

Picture: Jersey Heritage

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from the Island of Jersey that couple Simon and Clare Perrée have donated a signed painting by Thomas Whitcombe (c.1763 - 1824) of A view of a ship approaching St Helier harbour with Elizabeth Castle in the background to Jersey Heritage, an organisation that runs the Island's local museums.

According to their press release:

"It is the only painting of an Island scene by Whitcombe that we know of so it is wonderful that it can go on display in Jersey where it has the most meaning and relevance.” [said Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Curation & Experience]

The Whitcombe painting is an oil on canvas and captures a time in Jersey’s history when smuggling was a big issue for the authorities. In the 18th century, the Channel Islands and French waters were rich pickings for smugglers and in an effort to stop this illegal trade, the British Navy sent revenue cutters – small ships built for speed and armed with cannons. In the painting, a cutter has sails full of cannon ball holes, suggesting it had recently been in action.

Latest Issue: RKD Bulletin

June 16 2021

Image of Latest Issue: RKD Bulletin

Picture: RKD

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The latest online issue of the RKD bulletin features an interesting article by Angela Jager on A reconstruction of The Five Senses by Karel van Mander III. The article and research was made possible by the recent addition, to the RKD image database, of hundreds of digitised images from a Danish private collection.

The bulletin is absolutely free to access and contains several other articles that may be of interest to readers.

Mauritshuis Brueghel & Van Balen Painting Inspires Pop Song

June 16 2021

Video: Mauritshuis

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Dutch pop singer Eefje de Visser, who performed at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, has released a new song that was inspired by the Mauritshuis's Garland of Fruit surrounding a Depiction of Cybele Receiving Gifts from Personifications of the Four Seasons by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hendrik van Balen. The music video begins in the gallery in front of the painting.

Alas, what a shame that the lyrics aren't available on subtitles - I'd love to know what they are...

Update - Gosh! A reader has very kindly sent these translated lyrics across:

Humanity picks her fruit

Celebrate the life 

The Sun and the rain wild and abundant 

The gods are looking below 

How men and animal lived on Earth in peace

Birds in the clouds and bushes 

People thankful that they could harvest 

And animals living in the trees 

They ate grain and leaves and berries 

Everything 

Oh Cybele let our flowers grow

Bathe in abundance and worship 

We worship you

We worship you

Angels fly up above

The veil of the evening to the Gods 

And bring wild to the clouds 

And everybody come Cybele 

We worship you 

Oh Cybele let grow over flowers 

Bathe in abundance and worship 

Oh Cybele let the wash to grow 

To live in excess and worship

I wonder if Brueghel and van Balen would have approved of these words...

Mysterious Marble Skull turns out to be by Bernini

June 15 2021

Image of Mysterious Marble Skull turns out to be by Bernini

Picture: artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an important discovery that I missed the other week.

A marble skull on display at Schloss Pillnitz, south of Dresden, has been discovered to be the work of the seventeenth-century sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The mysterious object had raised the curiosity of curators for some time, especially since the unattributed piece was known to have Roman provenance.

As the article above explains:

“Everybody had the same reaction to it,” Kryza-Gersch told the Art Newspaper. “We were standing around a table, looking at it. The question of course was—who made it? And since it has Roman provenance, someone jokingly said ‘maybe it’s a Bernini?’” 

In fact, further research revealed that the skull was indeed made by the Italian master for Pope Alexander VII in the mid-17th century. “Our jokes were proven right,” the curator said.

National Gallery's Raphael Exhibition for April 2022

June 15 2021

Image of National Gallery's Raphael Exhibition for April 2022

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Gallery in London have announced that their highly anticipated Raphael exhibition will be opening on 9th April 2022 and run till 31 July 2022. The ongoing virus crisis had delayed the planned opening in October 2020.

According to the gallery's website:

This exhibition, one of the first ever to explore Raphael's complete career, looks at his celebrated paintings and drawings as well as his work in architecture, poetry, and design for sculpture, tapestry and prints. 

With loans from the Hermitage, the Louvre, National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Prado Museum, Uffizi Museum, and the Vatican Museum this is an unprecedented opportunity to see the breadth of Raphael’s skill, creativity, and ingenuity.

Sotheby's Evening Sale

June 15 2021

Image of Sotheby's Evening Sale

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's London have published the online catalogue for their upcoming Old Master Paintings sale on 7th July 2021.

It seems that this summer's sale has a very strong Flemish flavour to it, particularly in relation to landscapes and still lifes. A few highlights include a lavish floral still life by Jan Brueghel the Elder estimated at £2.5m - £3.5m; a still life by Fede Galizia estimated at £400k - £600k; a Willem Kalf still life estimated at £800k - £1.2m; a Willem van de Velde coastal scene estimated at £400k - £600k; and two Boucher Landscapes estimated at £250k - £350k and £150k - £200k respectively.

As to be expected for AHN, another highlight of the sale must be Van Dyck's portrait of The Family of Cornelis de Vos estimated at £1m - £1.5m. The catalogue entry is rather interesting, particularly in relation to the composition and later attempts to update the clothing of the sitters. Make sure you zoom into the fine brushwork evident in the painting of the children. The loose painterly finish has that immediacy that we all know and love from the artists's oil studies and sketches, a delight to behold!

British paintings are also well represented, including a JMW Turner seascape estimated at £4m - £6m; two portraits from the Duke of Hamilton's collection including a Henry Raeburn portrait of the 8th Duke estimated at £200k - £300k and the aforementioned triple portrait of Emma Hamilton estimated at £400k - £600k; a fine Benjamin West of Prince William, later William IV, from the Digby collection estimated at £200k - £300k.

Lecture: Rubens and his Landscape Drawings: Sketching en Plein Air

June 14 2021

Image of Lecture: Rubens and his Landscape Drawings: Sketching en Plein Air

Picture: Ashmolean

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Wallace Collection in London are hosting a lecture on Rubens and his Landscape Drawings: Sketching en Plein Air. The talk will be delivered by An Van Camp, the Christopher Brown Curator of Northern European Art at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology (University of Oxford).

According to the talk's blurb:

Rubens expressed his love and fascination for nature not only through paintings but also a range of superb drawings, which in turn informed his painted oeuvre. In this talk, An van Camp will unravel Rubens as a superb draughtsman of nature by exploring his plein-air sketches, which include delicate landscape compositions as well as sensitive studies of trees and shrubs. By focusing on works kept in British public collections, Rubens will emerge as a great lover of nature. 

The lecture will be broadcast on Zoom on 16th June 2021 at 19.00 (BST) and will cost £4 to attend.

Nelly O'Brien Conserved

June 14 2021

Image of Nelly O'Brien Conserved

Picture: tefaf.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Wallace Collection's Miss Nelly O'Brien by Sir Joshua Reynolds has been conserved and redisplayed to the public. The project was funded by the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) Museum Restoration Fund, which the museum received in 2014 (?)

According to the TEFAF website:

The portrait is notable for its interplay of light and shadow, particularly in the upper part of the sitter’s body, where the wide brim of the bonnet casts a shadow over her face and bosom. However, the painting had been untouched for over 150 years and had several thick layers of discoloured varnish obscuring its beauty. The conservation of this painting, which was carried out in collaboration with the National Gallery, served two main purposes: to reveal the original luminous beauty of the work and to bring to light new information about Reynolds’s techniques and processes.

Refurbished Courtauld Galleries Reopen in November

June 14 2021

Image of Refurbished Courtauld Galleries Reopen in November

Picture: Courtauld Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has arrived that the recently refurbished galleries of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London will be reopening to the public in November. This extensive four-year restoration project was made possible due to generous donations from the luxury conglomerate LVMH, the Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard Blavatnik and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The newly refurbished rooms, including the 'Great Room' which housed the RA's exhibitions until 1837, sound very exciting indeed. There's even mention of a new room dedicated to paintings by Rubens, alongside other Courtauld favourites.

Chistie's London Evening Sale

June 14 2021

Image of Chistie's London Evening Sale

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's London have published their online catalogue for their upcoming Old Master Paintings sale on 8th July 2021.

On a first glance, it seems that there are some really very choice pictures on the block. Amongst the highlights are Van Dyck's portrait of the Earl of Strafford estimated at £3m - £5m; Bernardo Bellotto's view of Verona estimated at £12m - £18m; Georges de la Tour's Saint Andrew estimated at £4m - £6m; A large banquet still life by De Heem estimated at £3m - £5m. There are many very strong pictures in the £400k - £1m range, including a fine Wright of Derby being sold by the Earl of Portsmouth (pictured). Other pictures I think worth pointing out are a Rubens head study, a Frans van Mieris music lesson and a serene Portrait of a Lady by Ferdinand Bol being sold from Lowood House.

Also worth a mention is the Marquess of Cholmondeley's The Prince Entering the Briar Wood by Edward Burne-Jones estimated at £2m - £3m. This important British nineteenth-century painting is being sold from Houghton Hall in Norfolk and was purchased as recently as 2001. Any admirers of Royal pageantry will know that as Lord Great Chamberlain the Marquess gets to carry the Her Majesty's crown during occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament.

________________

As an aside, if you would like to know what Thomas Lawrence's fabulous Portrait of Lady Wallscourt playing the guitar sounds like, then I must recommend guitarist Jamie Akers's recording LE DONNE E LA CHITARRA. This CD examines some of the previously underappreciated women performers and composers for the guitar in the nineteenth century.

Blog on!

June 14 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Service will be resumed this week!

Apologies once again for the relative silence these past two weeks, I'm most grateful for all of your kind patience.

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