April 14 2021

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Apologies for the slow service this week, I'm rather occupied with some rather pressing work that needs completing. I'm hoping I'll be able to pick things up again by the end of the week.

New Release: Rubens's Spirit

April 14 2021

Image of New Release: Rubens's Spirit

Picture: reaktionbooks.co.uk

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Alexander Marr, reader in the History of Early Modern Art at the University of Cambridge, has a new book out this month entitled Rubens's Spirit, from Ingenuity to Genius.

According the book's blurb:

Peter Paul Rubens was the most inventive and prolific northern European artist of his age. This book discusses his life and work in relation to three interrelated themes: spirit, ingenuity and genius. It argues that Rubens and his reception were pivotal in the transformation of early modern ingenuity into Romantic genius. Ranging across the artist’s entire career, it explores Rubens’s engagement with these themes in his art and biography. The book looks at Rubens’s forays into altarpiece painting in Italy as well as his collaborations with fellow artists in his hometown of Antwerp, and his complex relationship with the spirit of pleasure. It concludes with his late landscapes in connection to genius loci, the spirit of the place.

New Release: Mattia Preti, Life and Works

April 11 2021

Image of New Release: Mattia Preti, Life and Works

Picture: midseabooks.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Professor Keith Sciberras of the University of Malta, and writer on all things regarding the Baroque in Malta, has a new book out entitled Mattia Preti, Life and Works.

The volume also includes a full catalogue of the artist's works, which will earn Prof. Sciberras a place amongst the highly coveted Heroes of Art History section of this blog.

The title is available for pre-order through the publisher.

Pizza Maker Finds Two Paintings in Attic While Renovating House

April 11 2021

Image of Pizza Maker Finds Two Paintings in Attic While Renovating House

Picture: La Stampa

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A pizza maker from Valencia, Piedmont, has discovered two seventeenth century paintings in his attic while undertaking renovations of a newly bought house.

According to Max Mazzola (forgive the poor translation):

I found the paintings in the attic. They had a blanket thrown over. One of them was located in the middle of the pigeon guano. When we discovered them, Stefania and I immediately saw they looked very beautiful and we brought them into the house.

It turns out the canvases have been attributed to Guglielmo Caccia called the Moncalvo (c.1565-1625) and were stolen from the Parish of Borgo San Martino 25 years ago. The authorities have not yet been able to identify who owned the house during that time.

The Vittoria Alata di Brescia Conserved

April 11 2021

Image of The Vittoria Alata di Brescia Conserved

Picture: ilfattoquotidiano.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Vittoria Alata di Brescia, a very rare 1st century AD Roman bronze statue, has completed a two-year restoration project in Italy. This rare bronze was discovered in 1826 and is now kept in the Capitolium di Brescia in Northern Lombardy. The delicate conservation work was undertaken by Anna Patera dell'Opificio and Francesca Morandini of the Brescia Musei Foundation, in collaboration with the bronze restoration department of the Florentine institute under the direction of Laura Speranza. Click on the link above to see some interesting details of the project.

Variations: The Reuse of Models in Paintings by Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi

April 10 2021

Image of Variations: The Reuse of Models in Paintings by Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi

Picture: The Cleveland Museum of Art

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Cleveland Museum of Art will be opening their new exhibition tomorrow entitled Variations: The Reuse of Models in Paintings by Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi.

As the show's blurb explains:

Recent conservation of the CMA’s Italian Baroque painting Danaë by Orazio Gentileschi (1563–1639) has revealed a more vibrant and refined painting than has hitherto been possible to perceive. It is an extraordinary work now conveying the artist’s trademark virtuosity in painting drapery and flesh tones. Danaë is the second version of a picture painted in Genoa around 1621–22 by Orazio, who often copied his own works; these subsequent versions can rival the original in quality. 

While issues of attribution are still very much alive in several works by Orazio and his daughter Artemisia, it is clear that both artists returned to and reworked certain themes and compositions throughout their careers. In content and form, Orazio’s Danaë is a key example of this phenomenon. In the exhibition, Danaë will be at the center of an intimate group of paintings by father and daughter that will beautifully distill the artists’ capacity to modify and manipulate forms across subjects.

The exhibition will run from 11th April - 22nd August 2021.

National Museum of Sweden Acquires John Russel Pastel

April 10 2021

Image of National Museum of Sweden Acquires John Russel Pastel

Picture: National Museum of Sweden

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The National Museum of Sweden in Stockholm has acquired a pastel of Lady Georgiana Cavendish by John Russel (1745-1806). The work came up for sale at the auction house Artcurial in Paris last November where it made €45,500. The acquisition was made possible by the support of the Axel and Nora Lundgren Fund.

Sotheby's April Sale

April 10 2021

Image of Sotheby's April Sale

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's London have uploaded their upcoming April Old Master Paintings and Portrait Miniatures sale. This online sale will take place between 23rd - 28th April 2021. As usual with these sorts of sales, the estimates are very tempting.

I don't want to spoil the fun of going through the lots, however, perhaps one of the most intriguing paintings for sale is Benedetto Caliari's The Finding of Moses, estimated at £30k - £50k. Some readers might remember that this picture was featured in last July's edition of the Burlington Magazine.

H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921 - 2021

April 9 2021

Image of H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921 - 2021

Picture: The Royal Collection Trust

UpdateHere's a short article on the late Prince's interest in painting and collecting.

Conserving Giovanni di Paolo

April 8 2021

Video: MET

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York's latest video focuses on the conservation of Giovanni di Paolo's altarpiece dated to 1454.

Looking Under Paintings with AI

April 8 2021

Video: Oxia Palus

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's the latest collaboration between tech wizards and the art world. The art collective called Oxia Palus has been using AI to recreate paintings found underneath artworks. In this case, they've used scans of Picasso's The Crouching Beggar to digitally recreate an overpainted work that was discovered in 2018. It's believed that the painting underneath Picasso's is by Santiago Rusiñol, a modernist landscape painter and friend of the artist.

According to the article above:

The Oxia Palus team used a combination of spectroscopic imaging, AI, and 3D printing to actualize the visible trace of the landscape. They call the method “the neomastic process.”

The company has gone so far as re-printing 100 copies of the AI interpretation of the lost painting for sale.

What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)

April 8 2021

Image of What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back)

Picture: WAM

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts is about to open its latest exhibition entitled What the Nazis Stole from Richard Neumann (and the search to get it back).

As the title suggests, the show follows the fate of the art collection of Dr Richard Neumann (1879-1959), whose paintings were confiscated by the Nazis when he fled Austria in 1938. Reuniting Neumann's 200 works of art, including old master paintings and sculpture, became the focus of the last years of his life. 16 works of art have been returned thus far, and 14 of these will be in the exhibition. The show will include works by Maerten van Heemskerck, the sculptor Alessandro Algardi and Guiseppe Sanmartino. Also included are works by Italian artists Alessandro Magnasco, Giovanni Battista Pittoni the Younger, and Alessandro Longhi.

The show will run from 10th April 2021 till 16th January 2022.

Couple Accidentally Vandalise Abstract Work in Exhibition

April 8 2021

Video: newzee

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An amusing story from South Korea regarding a couple who accidentally vandalised an abstract painting in a contemporary art exhibition in Seoul.

The couple assumed that the paints and brushes left underneath the work, a piece of set dressing intended by the artist, was encouragement for visitors to add to the piece. The work by the graffiti artist JonOne completed the work in 2016 for a live audience and has been valued at around $500,000. The work is now behind a small barrier with a newly installed 'Do not touch' sign.

Update - A reader has been in touch:

love the accidental vandalism, the question is…. without the cctv footage would anyone have noticed?

Could this be by Caravaggio (?)

April 7 2021

Image of Could this be by Caravaggio (?)

Picture: Casa Ansorena

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The above Ecce Homo was due to be sold at the Madrid auction house Casa Ansorena tomorrow with an estimate of €1,500. However, rumours of the painting's quality and whispers of the name 'Caravaggio' encouraged the auction house to withdraw the painting from sale in order to make further investigations. Furthermore, the Spanish State has already pre-empted the significance of the painting by placing an export ban on it, a highly unusual move indeed.

This article in the Spanish press has made a link to a lost painting that Caravaggio painted for Cardinal Massimi, a picture which had been seen in Spain during the later seventeenth century. The Ribera scholar Nicola Spinosa has already come out to express his opinion that the work is not by Caravaggio.

It will be interesting to see how this story develops.

Christie's NY Sale

April 7 2021

Image of Christie's NY Sale

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Christie's New York have uploaded their upcoming Old Masters sale online. The sale will be held on 22nd April 2021.

Perhaps one of the most exciting lots is the recently rediscovered The Vision of Saint Anthony the Abbot by Sebastiano del Piombo (pictured). The work has reappeared in an English collection, where it has been since the nineteenth century. Another version of the work survives in Musée National du Château de Compiègne, although it has been suggested that the Christie's picture might well be the primary version. The painting carries an estimate of $3m - $5m.

Other interesting lots include a Landscape by Dosso Dossi commissioned by Alfonso I d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, estimated at $400k - £600k, a Still Life of a Mallard by Chardin estimated at $1.5m - $2.5m, a Dirck van Baburen scene of Christ driving out the money changers at the temple estimated at $1m - $1.5m, Ressurection by Lucas Cranach I estimated at $800k - $1.2m, a late thirteenth century Roman painting of Scenes from the life of Christ estimated at $1.5m - $2.5m, and a ricordo of Saint Francis Embracing Christ on the Cross by Murillo estimated at $1.2m - $1.8m.

Lorenzo Lotto's Crucifixion

April 7 2021

Video: Municipality of Monte San Giusto

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Municipality of Monte San Giuto in Italy have published the above video describing Lorenzo Lotto's Crucifixion (1528-9) in the church of Santa Maria della Pietà in Monte San Giusto. This version in English was narrated by Matthias Wivel of the National Gallery in London who collaborated on the project with Italian curator Enrico Maria Dal Pozzolo. Here's an article if you'd like to know more about the collaboration.

Porcelain Collection of the Dukes of Palma Reunited

April 7 2021

Image of Porcelain Collection of the Dukes of Palma Reunited

Picture: artribune.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The porcelain collection of the Dukes of Palma will be reunited this May for a special exhibition in the Palazzo Ducale di Colorno. This once celebrated collection was dispersed in 1859 amongst several Italian museums and galleries. This will be the first time in 162 years these pieces by the likes of Meissen, Sèvres, Vincennes, Chantilly, Doccia and Capodimonte have been reunited. The exhibition, which features archival information regarding the patronage of the Dukes, will run until 19 September 2021.

French Galleries Sue Government over Restrictions

April 7 2021

Image of French Galleries Sue Government over Restrictions

Picture: comitedesgaleriesdart.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The French association of art galleries (CPGA) are suing the French government over the decision to close art galleries during the latest lockdown. The group have claimed that their members are "victims of a distortion of competition" since auction houses may continue to be open for sales and previews but private galleries are not. Their statistics show that a third of their members have lost more than one half of their income over the last year due to the ongoing crisis. A ruling on the case is expected next week.

This is a Robbery

April 7 2021

Video: Netflix

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a trailer for Netflix's new documentary on the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum thefts. It seems that the program borrows heavily from a 2015 book which suggested that the works may have been stolen by associates of the mobster Carmello Merlino.

The Savior For Sale

April 7 2021

Image of The Savior For Sale

Picture: TAN

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Art Newspaper have published a fascinating article on the new film by Antoine Vitkine entitled The Savior for Sale.

The film seems to reveal some very interesting details about the aborted attempt to exhibit the Salvator Mundi for the Louvre's Leonardo exhibition in 2019. Firstly, the film suggests from a source that Saudi owners of the painting had strong conditions on the work being exhibited. They supposedly had insisted that the work should hang next to the Mona Lisa and should be catalogued as a Leonardo 100% in full.

A little more murky is scientific analysis that the Louvre is said to have undertaken on the painting. It is claimed that initial investigations by the museum's technical laboratory C2RMF have concluded that Leonardo had only contributed to part of the painting. We'll have to wait for the film to hear more, as the article gives absolutely no details of how they came to this decision. There's also the matter of the book later and secretly published by the Louvre, which actually confirmed the authorship to Leonardo.

It is claimed that President Macron eventually took the decision to not go ahead with the Saudi's conditions.

The film will be broadcast on French television on 13th April 2021.

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