15th Century And Earlier

Cleveland Acquire Stoss Sculpture

February 22 2024

Image of Cleveland Acquire Stoss Sculpture

Picture: clevelandart.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

I'm a little late to the news that the Cleveland Museum of Art announced their acquisition of Veit Stoss's limewood carving of Jesse at the end of last month. 

According to the museum's press release:

Veit Stoss was one of the most influential German sculptors and is most celebrated today for his dramatically carved and emotionally intense limewood sculptures. This is the first sculpture by Stoss acquired by the CMA. The work depicts Jesse, described in the Bible as the father of David who became king of the Israelites; Jesse is therefore regarded as an ancestor of Christ. 

“Stoss is the seminal artist of this genre,” said William M. Griswold, CMA director and president. “Jesse, the CMA’s first Stoss work, will serve as an anchor for our German collection. Beginning March 1, 2024, visitors can get their first glimpse in the gallery for German and Austrian Gothic Art (111).” [...]

The sculpture, an extraordinary new discovery in late Gothic sculpture, was part of an altarpiece in a church, possibly in Nuremberg, Germany, which showed the Tree of Jesse in the center. After 1812, the sculpture entered the collection of Prince Ludwig of Öttingen-Wallerstein (Germany, Bavaria). In 1998, it was bought by Rudigier Kunsthandlung, Munich, Germany. 

Sleeper Alert!

February 14 2024

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: Vanderkindere

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

'X' (formerly Twitter) was awash with news about the following painting which was auctioned off at Vanderkindere in Belgium yesterday. The work catalogued as 'Flemish School, 16th century' achieved €202,000 over its €10,000 - €15,000 estimate.

Bergognone in Lodi

February 13 2024

Image of Bergognone in Lodi

Picture: comune.lodi.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new exhibition dedicated to the artist Ambrogio di Stefano da Fossano, called Bergognone (or Borgognone), has just opened in the Italian city of Lodi. The show entitled Religious Love has been organised on the 500th anniversary of the artist's death.

Van Eyck Restored at the Louvre

February 6 2024

Image of Van Eyck Restored at the Louvre

Picture: Louvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris will be opening an exhibition next month dedicated to Jan van Eyck's La Vierge et l'Enfant au chancelier Rolin. The painting has just been conserved as part of a wider technical examination project of the artist's works. Alongside the recently restored painting, visitors will be able to delve deeper into the paintings and its history, alongside viewing 60 other relevant paintings, drawings, manuscripts and sculpture brought together for the exhibition.

Museo Diocesano de Teruel redisplays and conserves 'Attributed to Michael Sittow' Work

February 5 2024

Image of Museo Diocesano de Teruel redisplays and conserves 'Attributed to Michael Sittow' Work

Picture: heraldo.es

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Regular readers will remember a painting 'Attributed to Michael Sittow' which was rediscovered in the Museo de Arte Sacro de Teruel back in 2021. The work has recently been conserved and redisplayed in the museum. Attempts have been made to look into the attribution of the picture, the results of which still under discussion (click on the article to read more).

Sassetta Exhibition in Massa Marittima

January 23 2024

Image of Sassetta Exhibition in Massa Marittima

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Devotees to Italian gold ground painting will be sure to head to Massa Marittima in southern Tuscany later this spring. The Museo di San Pietro all'Orto will be opening an exhibition dedicated to Stefano di Giovanni di Consolo, known as il Sassetta (active by 1427; d. 1450) later in March. Press releases explain that 50 works by the artist and his contemporaries will be on display, including some newly conserved works from Italian parish churches and collections.

The show will run from 14th March until 14th July 2024.

Antonio Rossellino Conserved

January 19 2024

Image of Antonio Rossellino Conserved

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that a marble Madonna and Child by Antonio Rossellino has been conserved. The sculpture, originally deposited in the Church of San Domenico in Ferrara, will go on display in the city's Museo della Cattedrale from 22nd January. The project, first initiated in 2022, was undertaken by the conservator Fabio Bevilacqua.

Being a woman between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

January 9 2024

Image of Being a woman between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Picture: mba.tours.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours are opening a very interesting sounding exhibition later this Spring. The Sceptre and the Distaff. Being a woman between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (basic translation) aims to examine the place, role and image of women in society in the late middle ages through over a hundred paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, prints and everyday objects. The exhibition draws on loans from throughout France and is jointly organised with the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Louvre.

The exhibition will run from 8th March until 17th June 2024.

UK Temporary Export Ban on Fra Angelico

January 9 2024

Image of UK Temporary Export Ban on Fra Angelico

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Following on swiftly from the previous post, the UK Government has placed a temporary export ban on Fra Angelico's Crucifixion which realised £5,001,000 at Christie's London last July. UK institutions have until 7th April 2024 to help save the artwork for the nation.

According to the above press release:

Committee member Christopher Baker said: 

Fra Angelico was one of the great innovators in the evolution of early 15th-century Florentine art. This profoundly moving devotional work, with its delicate colour harmonies and deeply considered, expressive figures, demonstrates the enduring power of his achievement. It is an extraordinary rarity that assists with our understanding of a formative period in the artist’s career and in the development of Italian Renaissance painting more widely. Its appeal also extends far beyond such scholarship because of its numinous beauty.

Executed in tempera on a wooden panel, the painting retains its original frame and has been in Britain since the early 19th century. It would constitute a major addition to a UK public collection and every effort should be made if possible to acquire it.

Closer to Memling in Bruges

December 20 2023

Video: Musea Brugge

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Musea Brugge in Bruges has published a digital project on its website exploring high-definition images of paintings by Hans Memling (1430–1494). The Closer to Memling project allows visitors to the website to get closer than ever before with exquisite images of works in its collection and those in the Museum Sint-Janshospitaal. Anyway, it's now time to go and 'look into the eyes' of Sibylla Sambetha, I think!

Lorenzettis Soar!

December 15 2023

Image of Lorenzettis Soar!

Picture: tajan.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

As expected, the previously mentioned pair of Pietro Lorenzettis soared well past their estimates at Tajan this week. Saint Silvestre realised €3,034,800 over its €1.5m - €2m estimate and Sainte Hélène realised €1,657,600.00 over its €400k - €600k estimate.

Curiously, the following portrait catalogued as 'Circle of Arthur Devis' also achieved an impressive price of €81,344 over its €3,000 - €5,000 estimate. Perhaps someone has managed to crack the attribution?

Rare Opportunity to see Piero della Francesca Frescos in Arezzo

December 14 2023

Image of Rare Opportunity to see Piero della Francesca Frescos in Arezzo

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that visitors to the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo will be able to pre-book a special scaffold tour to get up close to Pierro della Francesca's famous The History of the True Cross fresco cycle. This is made possible due to a conservation project which requires the fragile paintings to be examined and maintained.  Pre-booked tours will be available between 27 January and 12 March 2024.

Two Rediscovered Works by Pietro Lorenzetti Coming up for Sale

December 1 2023

Image of Two Rediscovered Works by Pietro Lorenzetti Coming up for Sale

Picture: news.artnet.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Artnet that two rediscovered works by Pietro Lorenzetti are coming up for at Tajan, Paris, on 13th December 2023. The pair were rediscovered by Eric Turquin, master and gatekeeper of French private collections it seems, and appear to have been in a private collection since they were acquired in around 1860. Saint Sylvester will carry an estimate of €1.5m to €2m and Saint Helena €400,000–600,000.

Italian Police Locate Lost Botticelli?

November 30 2023

Image of Italian Police Locate Lost Botticelli?

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Regular readers of this blog will recall Bendor's particular penchant for press photos of the Italian police posing next to recovered looted art. The Guardian have today presented us with the following example accompanied by a most curious story. The Italian police’s cultural heritage team have located a Madonna and Child purportedly by Botticelli in a private home in Naples, and have connected the painting to a work which went missing from Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the municipality of Santa Maria la Carità in Naples, over fifty years ago. The police are currently trying to establish the ownership of the painting.


Of course, the question of whether the authorship of this very yellowed and damaged work can be substantiated is perhaps the most pertinent question on many of the minds of readers of this particular blog. Do let me know if you find a better image of the painting itself, which seems to be lacking in all of these articles. 

Update - A reader has very kindly forwarded the following article which contains this slightly better image:

Well, despite the condition, it doesn't look terribly promising...


November 29 2023

Video: The Courtauld

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A reader has very kindly drawn my attention to the following lecture filmed at the Courtauld Institute the other week (I am yet to watch it myself). The presentation by Dr Stephan Kemperdick, Curator of Early Netherlandish and Early German Painting at the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, examines the documentary evidence for the portrait's traditional identification. Amongst his claims is that the identification with the Arnolfini family is a misreading of an inventory description, and this famous image may well in fact be a forgotten self portrait of the artist and his wife.

Bargello Museum acquires Donatello

November 10 2023

Image of Bargello Museum acquires Donatello

Picture: Bargello Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Bargello Museum in Florence have acquired Donatello's famous terracotta known as the Madonna of Via Pietrapiana. According to press reports the work was purchased by the Minstry of Culture for a mere €1,200,000,* after the owners of the work had sought authorisation to sell the terracotta on national territory. Dated to around 1450-55, the sculpture will be displayed alongside the museum's existing collection of the master's works.

* - This is a very low price for such a rare and significant work of art. Although its value would have always been limited due to the potential export conditions encountered in Italy, it is curious to know how this particular figure was reached.

It's Official - the Louvre has bought the Kitchen Cimabue...

November 3 2023

Image of It's Official - the Louvre has bought the Kitchen Cimabue...

Picture: lesechos.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

After recent speculation, the Louvre has finally announced its acquisition of the Artcurial Cimabue found in a kitchen and which later sold for €24.18m.

Uffizi Restores and Redisplays Lorenzetti Polyptych

October 31 2023

Image of Uffizi Restores and Redisplays Lorenzetti Polyptych

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that the Uffizi in Florence have restored Pietro Lorenzetti's (Siena 1280-1348) Santa Umiltà polyptych. The polyptych, which is composed of 22 elements, has taken over four years to conserve. In line with the gallery's Diffusi project, the large work has been sent off for an exhibition at the Pinacoteca Comunale di Faenza where it will be on display until March next year.

Readers will also notice that the museum has taken the opportunity to give the multipaneled work the contemporary 'Italian' framing treatment. Click here to see the Uffizi's washing machine setting for Michelangelo's Doni Tondo.

Dieric Bouts - Creator of Images

October 20 2023

Image of Dieric Bouts - Creator of Images

Picture: mleuven.be

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

This autumn the M Leuven are celebrating the creative genius of the early Netherlandish artist Dieric Bouts (c.1415–1475). This is being marked by both an exhibition and a new publication on the artist (pictured) as part of the 'New Horizons | Dieric Bouts Festival'.

According to the museum's website:

The concept of this exhibition is definitely radical: we are not allowed to look at Bouts as an artist. The image we have today of the artiste peintre did not exist in the 15th century. Dieric Bouts was not a romantic genius or brilliant inventor, he was an image-maker. He painted what was expected of him and excelled at it, just think about master pieces such as ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus’. That is why it makes sense to confront him with today's image-makers of sports photographers, filmmakers and game developers. M places them side-by-side with the old master.

The exhibition opened today and will close on 14th January 2024.

Upcoming Botticelli Drawings Exhibition & Symposium

October 20 2023

Image of Upcoming Botticelli Drawings Exhibition & Symposium

Picture: famsf.org

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Legion of Honor Museum at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will be opening a major exhibition next month dedicated to Botticelli Drawings. Said to be the first exhibition of its kind, the show will also include a significant symposium on the subject which will be held on 18th November 2023.

A description of the upcoming exhibition:

Botticelli Drawings is the first exhibition ever dedicated to the drawings of Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli (ca. 1445 – 1510). Exploring the foundational role drawing played in Botticelli’s work, the exhibition traces his artistic journey, from studying under maestro Fra Filippo Lippi (c. 1406 – 1469) to leading his own workshop in Florence. Featuring rarely seen and newly attributed works, the exhibition provides insight into the design practice of an artist whose name is synonymous with the Italian Renaissance. Botticelli’s drawings offer an intimate look into the making of some of his most memorable masterpieces, including Adoration of the Magi (c. 1500), which will be reunited with its preparatory drawing, surviving only in fragments. From Botticelli’s earliest recorded drawings through expressive designs for his final painting, the works on display reveal the artist’s experimental drawing techniques, quest for ideal beauty, and command of the line.

The show will run from 19th November 2023 until 14th February 2024.

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