15th Century And Earlier

Recent Release: Brilliant Bodies - Fashioning Courtly Men in Early Renaissance Italy

March 3 2022

Image of Recent Release: Brilliant Bodies - Fashioning Courtly Men in Early Renaissance Italy

Picture: Penn State University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's a new release that might be of interest to some readers. Penn State University Press has just published Timothy McCall's new book Brilliant Bodies: Fashioning Courtly Men in Early Renaissance Italy.

According to the book's blurb:

Italian court culture of the fifteenth century was a golden age, gleaming with dazzling princes, splendid surfaces, and luminous images that separated the lords from the (literally) lackluster masses. In Brilliant Bodies, Timothy McCall describes and interprets the Renaissance glitterati—gorgeously dressed and adorned men—to reveal how charismatic bodies, in the palazzo and the piazza, seduced audiences and materialized power.

Fifteenth-century Italian courts put men on display. Here, men were peacocks, attracting attention with scintillating brocades, shining armor, sparkling jewels, and glistening swords, spurs, and sequins. McCall’s investigation of these spectacular masculinities challenges widely held assumptions about appropriate male display and adornment. Interpreting surviving objects, visual representations in a wide range of media, and a diverse array of primary textual sources, McCall argues that Renaissance masculine dress was a political phenomenon that fashioned power and patriarchal authority. Brilliant Bodies describes and recontextualizes the technical construction and cultural meanings of attire, casts a critical eye toward the complex and entangled relations between bodies and clothing, and explores the negotiations among makers, wearers, and materials.

Sleeper Alert!

March 3 2022

Image of Sleeper Alert!

Picture: La Suite Subastas

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News on Twitter this afternoon (via. auctionradar) that the following Portrait of a Man catalogued as 'Flemish School 15th - 16th century. In the Italian renaissance taste' realised €288,000 over its €8k - €12k estimate at the auction house La Suite Subastas in Barcelona today.

Update - @artidbits on Instagram has shared this image of a painting formerly in the Spiridon Collection in Rome which was later sold in Amsterdam in 1928. The exact relationship between these two paintings is unclear.

Large Hugo van der Goes Exhibition in Berlin for 2023

February 22 2022

Image of Large Hugo van der Goes Exhibition in Berlin for 2023

Picture: Berlin Gemäldegalerie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Berlin Gemäldegalerie is planning a significant exhibition on Hugo van der Goes (ca. 1440–1482) for next year. The show will contain major loans from across the world alongside their own two monumental altarpieces by the artist.

According to the gallery's website:

While recent decades have seen exhibitions showcasing the work of almost all the major Netherlandish painters of the 15th and 16th centuries, Hugo van der Goes has been largely neglected. This is mainly due to the rarity of his works and their often impressive dimensions. Two of these large-format paintings are housed by the Gemäldegalerie, which is why this museum’s collection lends itself to a monographic show like no other. The two monumental Berlin panels, the Monforte Altarpiece (ca. 1470) and The Nativity (ca. 1480), will play a central role in the exhibition. Over the course of the past 12 years, both works have undergone extensive restoration work. Today, they exhibit a vibrancy that was previously unimaginable. 

These two paintings will be joined by numerous important loans from European and American collections. The exhibition will provide viewers with the opportunity to compare the majority of this master’s preserved oeuvre for the very first time. Next to paintings on wood and canvas, a number of drawings offer a deeper insight into the production of this artist.

The exhibition has been scheduled to run from 31st March 2023 until 16th July 2023.

See the Brancacci Chapel by Scaffold

February 17 2022

Image of See the Brancacci Chapel by Scaffold

Picture: madeoftuscany.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Upcoming visitors to Florence will have the most marvellous opportunity to see the famous Brancacci Chapel like never before. (spotted via. @maaikesartstories) Due to the aforementioned restoration project announced last year, a scaffold has been erected in the Carmine Church to allow conservators to get up close to these important frescos by Masaccio and Masolino.

In fact, visitors will now have the opportunity to book a special ticket to walk on the scaffold to see the wall paintings up-close for themselves. The Chapel will be open to the public four days a week: Friday, Saturday, Monday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday between 1pm to 5pm. Tickets are limited and must be booked in advance.

Carlo Crivelli at the Ikon Gallery

January 31 2022

Image of Carlo Crivelli at the Ikon Gallery

Picture: The National Gallery, London

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz

The Ikon Gallery in Birmingham will be opening what looks to be a very interesting exhibition later in February dedicated to Carlo Crivelli (c.1430/5-1495). Shadows on the Sky is said to be the first exhibition in the UK dedicated to this Venetian born artist.

According to the gallery's website:

Shadows on the Sky highlights his experimental use of perspective, trompe l’oeil (optical illusion) and sculptural relief to create illusions of illusionism. Such cleverness was conveyed with consummate craftsmanship and foiled by an extraordinary elegance. Crivelli’s paintings both suggest and undermine his own visual trickery to explore the coexistence of material and spiritual realities. 

Organised in partnership with The National Gallery, the exhibition also includes loans from other leading institutions such as the National Trust, the Vatican Pinacoteca, the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Wallace Collection, and the Gemäldegalerie. Through these major loans – some for the first time – we are invited to reconsider Crivelli’s sophisticated understanding of the relationship between art and what it represents. With a sense of irony, found five hundred years later in Magritte’s Ceci n’est pas une pipe (1929), he subtly denies the possibility of one being confused with the other.

The exhibition will run from 23rd February 2022 until 29th May 2022.

Galleria dell'Accademia Reopens Renovated Galleries

January 25 2022

Image of Galleria dell'Accademia Reopens Renovated Galleries

Picture: finestresullarte.com

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence have reopened a set of newly refurbished galleries. These rooms house the museum's collections of thirteenth and fourteenth century paintings, including works by the Master of the Magdalene, the Master of Santa Cecilia, Taddeo Gaddi, Bernardo Daddi, Andrea di Cione known as Orcagna and Pacino di Buonaguida. These fragile works will now enjoy new lighting as well as a new air conditioning system.

The Battle of San Romano as a Cartoon

January 19 2022

The Battle of San Romano from Georges Schwizgebel on Vimeo.

Video: Georges Schwizgebel

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

It seems that the fascination for animating paintings has taken another bold leap forward with this piece by the Swiss filmmaker Georges Schwizgebel. The above video, which takes scenes from Paolo Uccello's three paintings of The Battle of San Romano, premiered last December on Vimeo. Schwizgebel has won prizes at various international film festivals in the past.

Click here to read more about the video and the process behind making it.

Donatello's Gattamelata moving Inside after Five and a Half Centuries Outside

January 5 2022

Image of Donatello's Gattamelata moving Inside after Five and a Half Centuries Outside

Picture: wikipedia

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News from Padua that Donatello's equestrian sculpture of Gattamelata will be finally moved inside after spending five and a half centuries out in the open. The sculpture, dating from 1453, has been positioned in the city's Piazza del Santo for centuries where it has been subjected to both shocks from the weather and regular gifts from pigeons (pictured). Thankfully, the original will soon be preserved inside The Basilica of St. Anthony Museum and a copy put in its place.

New Release & Free Ebook: At Home in Renaissance Bruges

January 5 2022

Image of New Release & Free Ebook: At Home in Renaissance Bruges

Picture: Leuven University Press

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Leuven University Press will be publishing Julie de Groot's new book At Home in Renaissance Bruges Connecting Objects, People and Domestic Spaces in a Sixteenth-Century City later this April. Amazingly, the scholarly publication will also be released as a free ebook.

According to the book's blurb:

How did citizens in Bruges create a home? What did an ordinary domestic interior look like in the sixteenth century? And more importantly: how does one study the domestic culture of bygone times by analysing documents such as probate inventories? These questions seem straightforward, yet few endeavours are more challenging than reconstructing a sixteenth-century domestic reality from written sources. This book takes full advantage of the inventory and convincingly frames household objects in their original context of use. Meticulously connecting objects, people and domestic spaces, the book introduces the reader to the rich material world of Bruges citizens in the Renaissance, their sensory engagement, their religious practice, the role of women, and other social factors. By weaving insights from material culture studies with urban history, At Home in Renaissance Bruges offers an appealing and holistic mixture of in-depth socio-economic, cultural and material analysis.

Capodimonte Museum Restores a Filippino Lippi

December 27 2021

Image of Capodimonte Museum Restores a Filippino Lippi

Picture: finestresullarte

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Capodimonte Museum in Naples has completed the conservation and restoration of Filippino Lippi's The Annunciation with Saints John the Baptist and Andrew (pictured). The project was completed by the Neapolitan company Temi SpA and was funded in its entirety by a private individual. In addition, the museum's Portrait of the Infante Francesco di Borbone by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun was also restored as part of the same project.

Intriguingly, the necessary funding was achieved through an 'Art Bonus mechanism' which provides patrons with a tax deduction of 65%.

New Lighting for the Madonna del Parto

December 24 2021

Image of New Lighting for the Madonna del Parto

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Piero Della Francesca's fresco known as the Madonna del Parto has been illuminated with a new LED lighting system. The lighting for the work preserved in the Musei Civici Madonna del Parto, Monterchi, had not been updated since the 1990s. It is claimed that the new system finally does justice to the artist's original intentions, particularly in regard to colouring.

Louvre Acquire Two Panels by Matteo Giovannetti

December 23 2021

Image of Louvre Acquire Two Panels by Matteo Giovannetti

Picture: @MuseeLouvre

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Louvre in Paris have announced their acquisition of two panels by Matteo Giovannetti (c.1322-1368). The two works of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Anthony the Abbot (pictured) were created around 1345 and are now some of the oldest examples of fourteenth century paintings preserved in the national collection of France.

2022 Donatello Exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi

November 30 2021

Image of 2022 Donatello Exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi

Picture: Palazzo Strozzi

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Musei del Bargello in Florence will be presenting a large exhibition on Donatello in March 2022. Donatello, The Renaissance will also travel in a smaller incarnation to Berlin's Gemäldegalerie and the Victoria Albert Museum in London in 2023.

According to the museum's website:

Starting from 19 March 2022, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Musei del Bargello will be hosting Donatello, The Renaissance. This historic, once-in-a-lifetime exhibition sets out to reconstruct the outstanding career of one of the most important and influential masters of Italian art of any age, juxtaposing his work with masterpieces by other Italian Renaissance masters such as Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Raphael and Michelangelo. 

Curated by Francesco Caglioti and devised as a single exhibition in two venues, Palazzo Strozzi and the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the exhibition is designed to celebrate Donatello in dialogue with institutions of Florence and indeed the whole of Italy, in addition to crucial international cooperation, in an effort to expand the debate on this master both in time and in space, in terms of materials, techniques and genres, in order finally to do justice to the artist’s universal dimension.

Here's the write-up from The Art Newspaper.

Crack the code of egg-tempera paints

November 29 2021

Image of Crack the code of egg-tempera paints

Picture: Angewandte Chemie

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

For those readers who like an in-depth scientific analysis of painting materials, here's a recently published article that might be of interest.

This month's edition of the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie has an article on Connecting Rheological Properties and Molecular Dynamics of Egg-Tempera Paints based on Egg Yolk (paywall, unfortunately) penned by Dr. Agathe Fanost, Dr. Laurence de Viguerie, Dr. Guylaine Ducouret, Prof. Guillaume Mériguet, Dr. Philippe Walter, Helen Glanville, Dr. Anne-Laure Rollet, Prof. Maguy Jaber.

Confused by the title? According to the abstract:

Egg-tempera painting is a pictorial technique widely used in the Middle Ages, although poorly studied in its physico-chemical aspects until now. Here we show how NMR relaxometry and rheology can be combined to probe egg-tempera paints and shed new light on their structure and behavior. Based on recipes of the 15th century, model formulations with egg yolk and green earth have been reproduced to characterize the physicochemical properties of this paint at the mesoscopic and macroscopic scales. The rheological measurements highlight a synergetic effect between green earth and egg yolk, induced by the interactions between them and the structural organisation of the system. 1H NMR relaxometry emphasizes the presence and the structure of a network formed by the yolk and the pigment.

Amis du Louvre Acquire Master of the Osservanza

November 23 2021

Image of Amis du Louvre Acquire Master of the Osservanza

Picture: amisdulouvre.fr

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Amis du Louvre have announced their acquisition of St Joseph's Dream by Master of the Osservanza (active 1430 - 1450) for the Louvre. The painting was acquired in memory of the former Director of Louvre Michel Laclotte. The subject of the work was identified during the MET's 1988 exhibition Painting in Renaissance Siena. 1420-1500.

The National Trust Redisplays Conserved Tapestry

November 18 2021

Image of The National Trust Redisplays Conserved Tapestry

Picture: The National Trust

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Institute of Conservation (ICON) have posted an extensive blog on the recent restoration of a fifteenth century tapestry kept at Montacute House in Somerset, a property owned and run by The National Trust. The work, dating to 1477 and woven by the workshop of Guillaume Desremaulx, has undergone 1,300 hours of documentation and conservation in Norfolk.

Courtauld Reframe Picture to Botticelli's Design

November 15 2021

Image of Courtauld Reframe Picture to Botticelli's Design

Picture: The Sunday Times

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Yesterday's The Sunday Times shared news that the Courtauld Gallery have reframed a painting using Botticelli's own designs found on the back of a painting. The designs were uncovered through infra-red scans of the gallery's The Holy Trinity with Saints Mary Magdalen and John the Baptist, which revealed notes Botticelli had seemingly left for the original framer. The reproduction of these designs was realised by Timothy Newbery, a craftsman and historian based in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway.

According to the article:

The painting, on a wood panel, is thought to have been produced between 1491 and 1494 for the Sant’ Elisabetta convent in Florence.  The sketches are thought to have been by Botticelli himself as a guide for a carver. They showed the design for the frame in which he wanted the painting to be displayed, above the altar in the convent’s chapel. The drawings show columns running up each side of the painting and the shape of the cross in the middle. 

Karen Serres, the gallery’s paintings curator, said the find was “super-interesting” and “it felt like we were participating in this dialogue that was happening in the studio”. 

She said: “You can just imagine that Botticelli is there with the person who’s made the panel, and they’re also working out what the frame should look like. It’s all kind of doodly.”

Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia Announces Acquisition

October 26 2021

Image of Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia Announces Acquisition

Picture: ansa.it

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence have announced their acquisition of an Angel and the Virgin by Giovanni Francesco Toscani (1372-1430).* The two paintings are fragments of a grand altarpiece painted for the Ardinghelli Chapel in the Basilica of Santa Trinita in Florence. Other surviving panels are located in Florence, Baltimore and Philadelphia respectively. The work was purchased by the museum for €400,000.

* - Apologies, my previous post indicated that there was only one painting instead of two.

Results from Conservation and Treatment of the Ghent Altarpiece

October 21 2021


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting video giving some further details about discoveries made during the conservation and treatment of Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece. Amongst the research conducted was identifying the hand and work of Hubert van Eyck.

Here's a link from CODART which gives more details of the conservation and the recently published book on the subject.

Sotheby's Reveal another Botticelli

October 6 2021

Video: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's New York have announced that they will be offering a late work by Sandro Botticelli in their January 2022 sale. The work will be consigned with an estimate "in excess of $40 million."

According to the press release:

Executed in the late 15th/early 16th century, The Man of Sorrows is a masterful late period work by the artist, when Botticelli was greatly influenced by the fanatical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola and adopted a style characterized by Christian symbolism and visionary spirituality. The portrait of the resurrected Christ reveals an important coda to Botticelli’s well-known earlier career, while also encapsulating the artist’s singular style with a stunningly modern and human portrayal of Christ.


The Man of Sorrows was first recorded in the collection of Mrs. Adelaide Kemble Sartoris (1814-1879), a famed English opera singer, who along with her husband, were two influential socialites in Victorian England and in Rome. The painting descended in the family to Adelaide’s great granddaughter, Lady Cunynghame, who sold it at auction in 1963 for £10,000 ($28,000). Since then, it has remained in the same distinguished private collection, practically unseen until its recent inclusion in the major monographic exhibition devoted to the Florentine master at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt in 2009–2010.

The picture will be toured around the globe, including stopping in at Hong Kong, Dubai, Los Angeles and London, before the sale in January.

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