15th Century And Earlier

A Michel Sittow Rediscovered in Spain (?)

July 27 2021

Image of A Michel Sittow Rediscovered in Spain (?)

Picture: Twitter via. @Inde

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Interesting news from Spain that a rare work by the enigmatic fifteenth century artist Michel Sittow has been reportedly rediscovered in the Museo de Arte Sacro de Teruel. The Intercession of the Virgin Mary before God the Father and Jesus Christ (pictured) has been reattributed by the scholar María del Carmen Lacarra. Sittow, who was probably born in Estonia but is often considered Flemish, worked for the Habsburg monarchs in Spain and the Netherlands. In a 2011 catalogue raisonné the art historian Matthias Weniger included 111 works with only 13 attributed with absolute certainty.

We'll wait and see if other scholars rally around this new attribution.

Paolo Veneziano Exhibition at the Getty Museum

July 13 2021

Image of Paolo Veneziano Exhibition at the Getty Museum

Picture: Worcester Art Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Getty Museum's new exhibition Paolo Veneziano Art & Devotion in 14th-Century Venice opened today in Los Angeles. In particular, this exhibition will reunite for the first time several dispersed fragments of two rare surviving altar pieces. Another significant loan includes an intact triptych from the National Gallery of Parma in Italy. The show will run until 3rd October 2021.

Here's a full write-up from The Art Newspaper.

Restoration of Poldi Pezzoli Museum's Mantegna

July 12 2021

Image of Restoration of Poldi Pezzoli Museum's Mantegna

Picture: Finestre sull'Arte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Italian website Finestre sull'Arte have published an interesting article on the restoration of Andrea Mantegna's Madonna and Child in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan. In particular, the article explains the work undertaken by the 'restorer' Giuseppe Molteni at the end of the nineteenth century who undertook several highly suspicious 'improvements' to the picture. Fortunately, in 2019 the museum decided to begin the task of restoring the work and removing these later additions. The work undertaken by Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence has revealed the true colours of the painting as well as undertaken scientific analysis of Mantegna's pigments and processes. Furthermore, the restoration has allowed for a more precise dating to the artist's early period in Mantua, from around 1462 - 1470.

Van Eyck Plea found in Vatican Archives

July 9 2021

Image of Van Eyck Plea found in Vatican Archives

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a curious story that appeared a few days ago. Historian Hendrik Callewier of the State Archives and KU Leuven has come across what he describes as a previously unknown application in the Vatican administration from painter Jan Van Eyck and his wife Margareta. The document, dated 26 March 1441, is a plea written to Pope Eugenius IV requesting a letter which would allow him to go to confession and absolve him from his sins.

According to the article linked above:

...according to Callewier “It is the first time that we see Van Eyck mentioned together with his wife Margareta in a document during his lifetime.” 

The find may also help determine Van Eyck’s birthplace. “There is no document from his time that says where he comes from,” Callewier said. “Ten different places have been named in the past hundred years, with Maaseik as the most likely contender. Our discovery shows that he comes from the diocese of Liège, so we can now exclude a number of places.” In this way, the search is traced back to Maaseik, Bergeijk, Maastricht and Arendonk.

Antoine de Lohny Exhibition in Susa

July 9 2021

Image of Antoine de Lohny Exhibition in Susa

Picture: settimanalelancora.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

An exhibition dedicated to the fifteenth century artist Antoine de Lonhy (active 1460 - 1490) opens in the Museo Diocesano in Susa, Piedmont, tomorrow. De Lonhy was both a painter, illuminator, designer of stained glass and a sculptor. The show will bring together fourty works by the artist from public and private collections, many of which have never been displayed before.

The second leg of the exhibition will open in Museo Civico d'Arte Antica in Turin on 23rd September 2021 and run until 9th January 2022.

Botticelli on loan to Museu de Belles Arts de València

June 29 2021

Image of Botticelli on loan to Museu de Belles Arts de València

Picture: Museu de Belles Arts de València

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sandro Botticelli's portrait of Michele Marullo Tarcaniota has been put on display in the Museu de Belles Arts de València. The painting has been loaned out to the museum by the Cambó family for a period of three years. It had previously been on display at the Prado in Madrid for two decades.

Visitors to Frieze Masters in London during October 2019 might remember that the painting was offered for sale by Trinity Fine Art for a reported $30m. Although the painting had been declared a national treasure in Spain, reports at the time suggested that an application for an export license would have been required to allow the work to formally leave the country. It seems that a sale did not materialise as it has remained in the family's hands.

15th century St John the Baptist Conserved in Malta

June 21 2021

Image of 15th century St John the Baptist Conserved in Malta

Picture: Times of Malta

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Times of Malta have published an extensive article regarding the recent conservation and restoration of a panel painting of John the Baptist attributed to the Sicilian painter Tommaso de Vigilia (active Palermo 1444-1497). The work, kept in the Mdina Cathedral Museum, is a fragment of a much larger piece that was dismembered after a disastrous earthquake which hit the island in 1693. This delicate restoration project was undertaken by conservator Amy Sciberras.

The Uffizi in Latin and Greek

June 18 2021

Video: Uffizi Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is celebrating 'European Archaeology Days' by posting videos in Latin and Greek. The Gallery has also tied in the celebration with some new acquisitions of classical art works and other events to honour these ancient languages.

Two Early Banners by Raphael are Conserved in Perugia

June 18 2021

Image of Two Early Banners by Raphael are Conserved in Perugia

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Two processional banners, which are some of the earliest works attributed to Raphael, are being conserved in the Città di Castello, Perugia. The conservation work is being undertaken in preparation for an exhibition entitled The Young Raphael and his Gaze (a rough translation) which will open on 18th September 2021.

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.

Late Gothic in Berlin

May 27 2021

Video: smb.museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie opened its latest exhibition earlier this month entitled Late Gothic The Birth of Modernity. They created this rather fun video to promote the exhibition and accompanied it with a soundtrack which I approve of.

According to the museum's website:

Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie is holding the first ever comprehensive exhibition in the German-speaking world on late Gothic art. Featuring some 130 objects – including impressive loans and key works from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – the show will juxtapose various artistic genres and media, revealing the full breadth of the media innovations of the 15th century and the art of the late Gothic era. 

The exhibition will revolve around the progressive tendencies of the long transition period between the Middle Ages and the early modern age. Like perhaps no other epoch, in German-speaking regions, the period between 1430 and 1500 was marked by profound changes that continue to influence our understanding of art and images to this day. The exhibition includes a broad selection of works by well-known proponents of late Gothic art, such as Stefan Lochner, Konrad Witz, Niclaus Gerhaert von Leyden, and Tilman Riemenschneider.

The show will run until 5th September 2021 and their exhibition catalogue is available in English too.

Parma's Nuova Pilotta opens new Rooms dedicated to 14th - 15th Century Art

May 26 2021

Image of Parma's Nuova Pilotta opens new Rooms dedicated to 14th - 15th Century Art

Picture: la Repubblica

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Parma's Nuova Pilotta museum has opened new rooms dedicated to Italian art of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In particular, the new displays will focus on the transitional Gothic and Renaissance styles. Works featured within the rooms include paintings by the likes of Jacopo Loschi, Filippo Mazzola, Cristoforo Caselli and Alessandro Araldi.

Traces of Gold uncovered on Donatello Sculpture

May 20 2021

Image of Traces of Gold uncovered on Donatello Sculpture

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Traces of gilding have been uncovered on a recently conserved marble statue of San Marco by Donatello kept by the Museum of Orsanmichele in Florence. The discovery was made during a recent conservation and scanning project, indicating that the hair, beard and robes of the figure were once a golden colour. The statue was completed in 1411 when Donatello was a mere twenty-five years old.

Brancacci Chapel given Green Light for Restoration

May 18 2021

Image of Brancacci Chapel given Green Light for Restoration

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News has emerged in Italy that the authorities in Florence have signed a three-year deal for the restoration of the significant frescos of the Brancacci Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. The work, which will be carried out by the company Opificio delle Pietre Dure, will focus on stabilising the delicate frescos which have been seen to be deteriorating during an inspection made in 2020.

Fingers crossed that the eventual re-emergence of these significant works by Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi won't end up shocking us like this project recently undertaken in Rome.

Vatican sends newly 'restored' Madonna delle Partorienti to Turin

May 13 2021

Image of Vatican sends newly 'restored' Madonna delle Partorienti to Turin

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Vatican Museums have sent Antoniazzo Romano's highly revered Madonna delle Partorienti to a special exhibition in the Torino Musei Foundation. This fragment of fresco, produced during the late fifteenth century, was removed from the wall in 1574 during the construction of the new St Peter's. By 1605 the work was then reinstalled in a special grotto chapel located underneath the floor of the basilica.

The museum has also taken the opportunity to 'restore' the work especially for the exhibition. Here's an image of what it looked like previously:


Does any reader happen to know if unfavourable comments relating to Vatican conservation work results in automatic excommunication?

Update - Here are some high-resolution images showing the new work a little more clearly.

Update 2 - Several readers have sent in correspondence explaining that criticism does in fact result in an automatic excommunication.

New Lorenzo Ghiberti Database

May 12 2021

Image of New Lorenzo Ghiberti Database

Picture: artemagazine.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A new online database containing documents and research relating to the artist Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) has been set up by the Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo in Florence (SBA). The database appears to be a treasure trove for any scholar interested in Italian Renaissance bronzes and art from that period.

NPG send Richard III home to York

May 7 2021

Image of NPG send Richard III home to York

Picture: NPG

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

As the The National Portrait Gallery in London is currently closed due to a refurbishment project, the gallery are sending their celebrated sixteenth century portrait of King Richard III to York for a special exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum entitled Richard III Coming Home.

According to the museum's website:

The painting, which has become synonymous with the depiction of Richard III, is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, London, and will be displayed alongside the museum’s outstanding collections associated with the King such as the magnificent Middleham Jewel, The Ryther Hoard and the Stillingfleet Boar Badge worn by one of his supporters. 

The loan to the Yorkshire Museum is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s  nation-wide COMING HOME project, that will see some of its most iconic works travel to the place they are most closely associated with.

The exhibition will run from 9th July - 31st October 2021.

Early Wall Paintings Conserved in Coventry

May 4 2021

Image of Early Wall Paintings Conserved in Coventry

Picture: Historic Coventry

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

A set of wall paintings have been conserved in the Charterhouse, Coventry. The set of three includes a large Crucifixion scene dating to c.1430, an early 17th century fictive imitation tapestry and a further large mural from the late 16th century.

Mark Perry, co-director of the The Perry Lithgow Partnership who undertook the work, is quoted as saying:

The earliest painting at Charterhouse depicts the Crucifixion in the centre with the Virgin Mary and St Anne on either side and several smaller figures in between. The main figures are very large and the painting would originally have covered the whole of the south wall of the monastery’s refectory. Due to extensive Post Reformation alterations to the building, only the bottom half now remains. This is the only surviving wall painting in a Carthusian monastery in England which means it is of national importance – it is one of the best pieces of Medieval art in the whole country.

Visitors will be able to see the newly restored works when the Charterhouse reopens in the Summer to celebrate Coventry's twelve months as UK City of Culture.

Restoring Ancient Mosaics in St. Mark's Basilica

April 23 2021

Image of Restoring Ancient Mosaics in St. Mark's Basilica

Picture: La Repubblica

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

La Repubblica have released images of the ongoing process of restoring 12th - 13th century mosaics in St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. The ancient floors of this iconic church are constantly under threat of flooding and were badly damaged by water in November 2019. In the picture above conservators can be seen restoring a peacock featured in the decorative schemes, a process which looks rather messy and complicated indeed!

Recently Conserved Fra Angelico sent to Forlì

April 20 2021

Image of Recently Conserved Fra Angelico sent to Forlì

Picture: finestresullarte.info

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Italy that a recently conserved painting by Fra Angelico has been loaned from the Museum of San Marco to the Musei di San Domenico in Forlì, Northern Italy. The Final Judgement, and another Nativity by the artist already in the city, will form part of an exhibition on Dante that will run till 11th July 2021. This significant loan was brokered by the Uffizi Gallery's director Eike Schmidt.

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